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Early detection matters this World Glaucoma Week (6-12 March)

Prof Crowston with arms folded, standing next to an eye chartHave you or a family member been diagnosed with glaucoma? People with a family history of glaucoma are 10 times more likely than the general population to develop the disease.

This means that if your parent or sibling has glaucoma, you have a one in four chance of developing glaucoma too.

Unfortunately, vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible – once it’s gone, it’s gone.

The good news is that early detection through regular eye exams (including a check of the optic nerve) can allow your doctor to diagnose glaucoma and begin treatment before the condition causes vision loss. In most cases, this early detection and treatment can save your sight, or at least significantly slow the disease progression.

Head of Glaucoma Research and Managing Director at CERA, Prof Jonathan Crowston said that a check-up for glaucoma should be a priority for Australians over the age of 40 with a positive family history of the disease. “Approximately half of the people in Australia with glaucoma are unaware they have it until their vision starts to deteriorate. Sadly at this point, the damage has already been done and vision loss is irreversible.”

A glaucoma check-up is simple, painless and can be conducted by your local optometrist or ophthalmologist. The examination should not be limited to eye pressure measurement as this is a poor indicator of glaucoma. Examination should include assessing the structure of the optic nerve and where needed a visual field test, which can detect peripheral vision loss (where glaucoma strikes first).

“I encourage all those who believe they are at risk to book in for a glaucoma check-up” said Prof Crowston. “Catching the disease early provides a much greater likelihood that vision can be preserved”

To support CERA’s glaucoma research, donate here.


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