Glaucoma Australia (GA) has launched a new family-focused awareness campaign called ‘Begins With You’, to mobilise people diagnosed with glaucoma to ask their family, and friends over the age of 50 to get their eyes tested.
Recognising that people with glaucoma are the best advocates for early detection, the organisation’s new campaign has been developed to make it easier for patients to start a conversation and encourage their loved ones to have an eye exam.
“They can do this by visiting this website and sending a ‘Gif of Sight’ to family and friends – because saving their sight begins with you,” GA stated.
The importance of family history in risk assessment for glaucoma has been well documented and is a key message promoted by GA.
In many cases, glaucoma is an inherited disease that is passed on within families. People are 10 times more likely to have it if they have a direct family member with the disease, while first degree relatives, which include parents, siblings and children are at greater risk, having a one in four chance of developing glaucoma in their lifetime.
That risk doubles if their relative has advanced glaucoma. Glaucoma rates are also highest in African and Asian ancestry groups.
GA CEO Ms Annie Gibbins said more than 300,000 Australians have glaucoma, yet 50% are unaware they have it.
“We want to see an Australia that is free of glaucoma blindness. We hope this new campaign empowers Australians with glaucoma to act and encourage their family and friends to look after their eye health and book an eye test,” she said.
“Early assessment by an optometrist is critical to detect glaucoma and save sight. We recommend all Australians 50 years or older visit an optometrist every two years for a comprehensive eye exam. For anyone with a family history of glaucoma or of Asian or African descent, we recommend getting your eyes checked every two years from the age of 40.”
The new campaign will run throughout the year and be supported on GA’s digital and social media platforms.
The organisation has also created a suite of digital and print campaign assets for health practitioners and people with glaucoma to download and share to help spread awareness and increase testing for glaucoma. They can be accessed here.