A panel of glaucoma experts from ophthalmology, optometry, pharmacy and orthoptics, alongside patients living with the disease, will discuss the benefits of collaborative care at a patient symposium this week.
The event, as part of World Glaucoma Week (8-14 March), will also offer glaucoma patients the opportunity to hear about the latest research into genetic markers for the disease.
Glaucoma Australia (GA) is hosting the symposium on Friday 13 March at the Flinders Medical Centre where Governor-General and GA patron Mr David Hurley – in attendance with his wife Mrs Linda Hurley – will deliver the opening address and undergo an eye examination.
The high-profile appearance comes as GA encourages all Australians over 50 and those with a family history of the disease to get their eyes checked as part of its ‘Don’t be Blindsided’ campaign, timed to coincide with the awareness week.
The campaign is urging Australians to have their eyes checked by an optometrist every two years to prevent the irreversible damage caused by glaucoma if left untreated.
“We are absolutely delighted to have our patron, Governor-General David Hurley, as part of our patient symposium, and importantly undertaking an eye exam, which is our core call to arms for all Australians in our fight against the disease,” CEO of Glaucoma Australia, Ms Annie Gibbins, said.
“Early detection is key in minimising vision loss – many people who have lost vision could have maintained their sight if the diagnosis and treatments were delivered sooner.
“This is why the work that Glaucoma Australia and eye health professionals are doing in the area of early detection is so important – and why the patient symposium is critical in improving patient outcomes and quality of life through collaborative care.”
Presenting at the symposium is Professor Jamie Craig, who is working on a research project supported with funding from GA.
Craig is working in the field of risk-profiling for glaucoma to identify common genetic markers to better predict an individual’s likelihood of developing the disease. It is at the forefront of early detection efforts.
Television and radio community service announcements featuring former INXS band member and glaucoma patient Mr Kirk Pengilly have also been created in support of the ‘Don’t Be Blindsided’ campaign and are expected to air throughout the month of March.
“Kirk’s personal experience shows that glaucoma can affect anyone as he was 29 years old and had no family history of the disease,” ,” Gibbins said.
“His passionate plea for Australian’s to have their eyes tested will help raise awareness as early detection and intervention is the key to saving ones eyesight.”