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Peak bodies join forces for World Glaucoma Week

28/02/2018By Matthew Woodley • Staff Journalist
Glaucoma Australia (GA) and Optometry Australia (OA) have begun campaigning in the lead up to World Glaucoma Week, by encouraging people to undergo a comprehensive eye exam.

In particular, the two eye health bodies have attempted to raise awareness of the heightened risk faced by the relatives of people with glaucoma, by pointing out that a direct family member with glaucoma is 10x more likely to have the disease than those without a hereditary link. The campaign has also focused on the fact that half of the estimated 300,000 Australians with glaucoma are unaware that they have the potentially blinding condition.

“There are 150,000 Australians who are risking blindness due to undiagnosed glaucoma,” GA CEO Mrs Annie Gibbins said.


"Anyone from age 40 with a family history of glaucoma, or age 50 with no family history, should make an appointment for a comprehensive eye examination with an optometrist."
Annie Gibbins, GA CEO

“Anyone from age 40 with a family history of glaucoma, or age 50 with no family history, should make an appointment for a comprehensive eye examination with an optometrist.”

Meanwhile, OA’s resident optometrist Mr Luke Arundel took the opportunity to highlight how glaucoma can surprise people due to the often painless and symptomless characteristics of its early-stages.

“Glaucoma can sneak up on people as it affects the peripheral vision before central vision and may occur in only one eye initially, meaning that when people have both eyes open the loss of vision in the early stages may not be readily noticeable,” he said.

“The loss of sight is usually gradual and a considerable amount of peripheral vision may be lost before there is an awareness of any problem. If however, we can pick it up early before vision changes, we can stop vision loss and blindness – but we need to be ahead of the game.”

Aside from promoting the importance of eye exams, GA is also encouraging people to host a B.I.G (Beat Invisible Glaucoma) Breakfast during World Glaucoma Week to raise awareness about the disease.

Interested participants have been encouraged to register with GA in order to receive more information and a free host pack, while pictures and short videos of the events can be posted to its Facebook page.

World Glaucoma Week runs from March 11–17.

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