Experts Call on Brits to Detect Glaucoma with Regular Eye Tests

optegra world glaucoma weekAccording to Optegra, the specialist eye hospital group, 43 per cent of Brits would not fix an eyesight problem straight away1 and 41 per cent are putting their eye health at risk by not having an annual eye test2. Early signs of serious eye conditions such as glaucoma can be detected in this way, which improves the chance of successful treatment.

Throughout World Glaucoma Week 2014 Optegra is calling on people to have an eye MOT.  An eye test crucially monitors the health of the eye, and can detect signs of glaucoma, including increased pressure which can be a risk factor.

If left untreated glaucoma can lead to damage to vision and ultimately blindness.  In fact, it is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the UK2.

Brendan Moriarty, Glaucoma expert and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Optegra Manchester Eye Hospital, said: “Glaucoma is often referred to as the ‘silent thief’ of vision because it is gradual and there are often no symptoms until advanced.  Early detection of glaucoma is therefore absolutely vital to prevent unnecessary damage to vision or even blindness.

“It really is as simple as having a bi-annual eye test, or more often if there is high risk of glaucoma, to spot the early warning signs.  I find it incredible that so many people fail to have regular eye tests, particularly when you consider what is at stake. The earlier we spot glaucoma, the more we can do to treat it.”

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve becomes damaged, usually due to a rise in intra-ocular pressure. If left untreated this damage, (neuropathy), can affect vision and ultimately cause blindness. It is a progressive disease where one eye is usually affected before the other. Treatment can prevent further damage to vision if diagnosis is early enough. The rise in intra-ocular pressure is usually due to blockage of the eye’s drainage in “open-angle glaucoma”, or an inability of the intra-ocular fluid to reach the drainage angle in “closed angle glaucoma”.

Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type, affecting two per cent of 40 year olds and increasing to 10 per cent of 80 year olds.  This is a chronic, or slow, condition in which the intra-ocular fluid can get to the drainage angle but the angle becomes blocked, usually as a result of ageing changes.

Other types of glaucoma include:

  • Congenital glaucoma – a rare but serious developmental abnormality of the eye.
  • Secondary glaucoma – several possible causes including inflammation, trauma, surgery and syndromes such as pigment dispersion and pseudo-exfoliation.
  • Primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG) – Intra-ocular fluid cannot reach the drainage angle because of an anatomical variation in the anterior chamber angle. East Asian and small, hyperopic eyes are more at risk, and women are three times more likely to get PACG.

The symptoms

In most cases, glaucoma has no symptoms in the early stages, which means that significant sight loss can occur if it is not detected and treated.

Early detection through regular eye tests is vital as damage to vision caused by glaucoma cannot be recovered.

Increased risk

According to the International Glaucoma Association, while anyone can develop glaucoma, people at a higher risk include those:

  • with a family history of glaucoma
  • over the age of 40
  • with high intraocular pressure, or pressure inside the eye
  • of African-Caribbean origin
  • who are very short sighted
  • who have diabetes
  • who have thin corneas
  • who have “vasospastic disorders”  such as migraine and  Raynauds syndrome
  • Who have cardiovascular disease are at higher risk.

Treatment

Depending on the type and severity of the glaucoma, treatment includes eye drops, glaucoma laser eye surgery or conventional glaucoma surgery.  For each, the aim will be the same: to reduce the intra-ocular pressure causing the glaucoma and preserve the vision in your eye as safely and painlessly as possible.

Primary open angle glaucoma, the most common type, is usually treated by using ocular hypotensive drops (drops which reduce intra-ocular fluid production or increase its drainage from the eye). A 30% reduction in ocular pressure is aimed for. Treatment is usually on both eyes and lifelong.
If the target pressure is not achieved, surgery or laser treatment may be required.

For more information on glaucoma visit www.optegra.com or call 0800 358 0825.

Note to editors:
Optegra research run by Censuswide, an online market research company, to 2,049 UK respondents aged over 18, between the 10th and 16th of December 2013.
Research conducted for Optegra by Online Options, with 1,000 adults aged 18 to 60+ in April 2012
Stat from the International Glaucoma Association; www.glaucoma-association.com


Optegra
Optegra is a specialist provider of ophthalmic services in the UK, Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. Optegra operates 23 eye hospitals and brings together leading edge research and medical expertise, state-of-the-art surgical equipment and top ophthalmic surgeons renowned for their areas of expertise to offer the best clinical outcomes in laser vision correction, Clarivu (refractive lens exchange), cataract removal, AMD, vitreoretinal and oculoplastics procedures all carried out in 5-star patient facilities.

Optegra, is committed to the development of eye sciences and championing the latest innovations in vision correction through its dedicated Eye Sciences Division.  Optegra achieves this by partnering with leading UK universities in the research and development of the next generation of ophthalmic services and technologies.

In addition, its Professional Partnership Programme of education and development with optometrists and opticians ensures the very best medical treatments are available to all.

To maintain Optegra’s five star standard of patient care and safety,  its specialist eye hospitals draw on the expertise of its Medical Advisory Committees (MAC), headed by consultant level ophthalmic surgeons who all report into the corporate MAC.  This is managed by Medical Director Mr Robert Morris, the renowned refractive expert who determines Optegra’s policies and procedures.

Optegra operates six UK eye hospitals: Optegra Eye Hospital, London; Optegra Surrey Eye Hospital (Guildford); Optegra Birmingham Eye Hospital (Aston); Optegra Yorkshire Eye Hospital (Apperley Bridge and Laser Eye Centre in Leeds City Centre); Optegra Solent Eye Hospital (Whiteley) and Optegra Manchester Eye Hospital, (Didsbury).

Www.optegra.com
For more information please contact:
Charlotte Sutton
CSPR
Tel: 01372 270 938
Mob: 07958 279 240
Email: charlotte@charlottesuttonpr.com

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