GLAUCOMA is a common eye condition which affects over 1,000 people in the Fermanagh and Omagh district – left untreated it can lead to significant vision loss in both eyes or in some cases, blindness.
During World Glaucoma Week, Specsavers Omagh is stressing the importance of having regular eye tests to help detect early signs and symptoms of the condition, as well as highlighting the common risk factors associated with it.
Glaucoma is the third largest cause of blindness in the world and is often referred to as the ‘silent thief’ of sight as it develops gradually.
In February 2018, Cathy Davis, an optometrist in Omagh Specsavers with advanced qualifications in glaucoma management, was visited by local man John Farley for a sight test after he was struggling to read.
“When I was checking the health of John’s eyes I was suspicious about the appearance of his optic discs which led me to do further tests and investigations to help aid my decision,” explained Cathy.
Following the initial test, Cathy referred John to Omagh Hospital to see an eye doctor where he was then diagnosed with glaucoma.
“John’s experience reinforces the importance of regular eye tests as John himself would never have been aware of this eye disease had he not come for his first eye test,” she said.
Two in every 100 people over 40 are affected by the condition, but the good news is glaucoma can generally be treated effectively if detected early and in most cases, a daily eye drop can be used for treatment.
Although anyone can be affected by the condition, research shows that men are 16 per-cent more likely to lose their sight than women due to the condition because they do not generally seek medical help as quickly.
Cathy added, “Our sight is precious. We ensure we visit our dentist every six months, and a sight test every two years should also be on everyone’s to do list.
“It can, quite literally, save your sight.”