PEOPLE are being encouraged to think more about their eye health.
It comes as next week marks World Glaucoma Week – a campaign dedicated to raising awareness for the condition.
People in Portsmouth and the surrounding area, aged 40 and over, are being advised to have regular eye check-ups in order to spot the tell-tale signs of glaucoma which can lead to blindness. In the UK, it affects two people in every 100 aged over 40.
St Mary’s Hospital, in Milton, Portsmouth, is supporting the campaign week.
Massimo Sibilio, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at the hospital, said: ‘Each month we see between 150 and 200 patients who have been referred to us by their GP or optician because a routine eye examination has flagged potential issues.
‘An early diagnosis, the ongoing monitoring and the correct treatment will prevent further damage to the most sensitive and important layers of the eye.
‘Early detection is vital, because any glaucoma damage to your visual field is irreversible.’
Glaucoma is caused when liquid in the eyeball cannot drain properly and pressure begins to builds up. The pressure can damage the nerve fibres of the retina and also the optic nerve.
Mr Sibilio added: ‘It is important to have an annual eye examination, especially if your family has a history of glaucoma.
‘If your optician has concerns, you can be referred to our unit for testing and, if a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment will start.’