July is Glaucoma Awareness month and we are promoting the importance of having your eyes checked. We want to raise awareness because glaucoma is a disease with no symptoms. Called the ‘silent thief of sight’, it is estimated more than 50% of people with glaucoma do not realise it.
As optometrists we are looking into people’s eyes every day, searching for early signs of glaucoma. Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in New Zealand, which is why we always support Glaucoma New Zealand’s work to raise awareness.
This message resonates with us as we have family connections with this disease. Claire’s grandmother went blind with glaucoma. She says “ In the 1970's the importance of having your eyes checked was not understood. When my Gran was diagnosed with glaucoma it was so advanced nothing could save her sight. She was a passionate reader which made this loss very hard."
Having family members with glaucoma increases the risk of developing the condition. This is close to home for us, both having parents with glaucoma. Sally says “Families need to talk about eye health. July’s Glaucoma New Zealand Awareness and Appeal month will encourage this.” The importance of early detection is that glaucoma can be treated. This means someone with glaucoma will have their eyesight to read and drive, for many years.
To support Glaucoma New Zealand’s annual Appeal month we will be donating $2 from every eye examination in July. We especially look forward to seeing people 45 years and older who have never had their eyes checked.