The Optical Confederation is supporting this week’s National Glaucoma Awareness Week, which is calling on the close relatives of known glaucoma patients to have regular eye checks.
The International Glaucoma Association (IGA), which organises the awareness week, warns that these relatives are up to four times more likely to develop the sight-threatening condition.
IGA research shows that one in three people (32 per cent) diagnosed with glaucoma did not know the condition can be inherited and, amongst the general public, only 49 per cent of people are aware of the link with family history. It is estimated that there are 600,000 people in the UK with glaucoma, but half have not been diagnosed.
Chris Hunt, Chair of the Optical Confederation said, “Many people are unaware that glaucoma has no symptoms in the initial stages and early detection, through regular eye exams, can help avoid preventable sight loss.
“Optical professionals can help educate the general public about the risks surrounding glaucoma, and should use National Glaucoma Awareness Week as an opportunity to discuss some of the issues involved with their patients.”