As part of National Glaucoma Awareness week, Consultant Ophthalmologist Pavi Agrawal has been talking about the importance of routine eye testing after national statistics reveal the numbers of cases of glaucoma in the UK are on the rise.
Pavi Agrawal who works in the Ophthalmology department at Queen’s Medical Centre said: “Glaucoma is an asymptomatic condition, which affects the optic nerve within the eye. In most cases glaucoma is a silent condition as patients often lose their peripheral vision (side vision) and it is only when the glaucoma spreads to their central vision that patients become symptomatic. The late diagnosis of glaucoma makes the condition much more difficult to treat.”
National figures suggest 700,000 people in the UK are affected by glaucoma, locally in Nottinghamshire we estimate there are around 30,000 people living with the condition. However there is a significant number that remain undiagnosed.
Mr Agrawal added: “We are increasingly seeing more and more patients coming through with glaucoma in their 40s and 50s; as there is an estimated 20% risk of a person developing glaucoma if their parent has the condition.”
Anyone over the age of 40 years old should have a routine eye test every two years, this includes screening for glaucoma.
Arunas Osmiega, a 45 year old man from Aspley has late stage glaucoma and is being treated at the Ophthalmology clinic at QMC. Arunas has very little sight vision left due to the condition and needs help with some of the simplest of tasks. Arunas’ wife Irma is an artist and over the last few years she has slowly adapted her life to help care for Arunas.
Mr Agrawal who has been looking after Arunas, over the last three years added: “Arunas is a real testament to himself and his family, he is living with a very difficult condition and he is continuing to live his life - not letting glaucoma defeat him. Arunas currently has around 5% vision remaining in one eye and so the smallest of tasks are difficult for him to do. Despite this he continues to go to work and has recently taken up dancing with his wife.”
For more information visit the International Glaucoma Association here: https://www.glaucoma-association.com/