Glaucoma: Causes, Symptoms and Early Detection | Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

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05 September, 2018

Glaucoma: Causes, Symptoms and Early Detection

Patient getting an eye exam at the Centre for Eye Health

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a chronic, progressive eye condition and one of the most common causes of blindness in Australia. This eye condition causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain resulting in a gradual, often symptomless loss of vision.

Without treatment, people with glaucoma will slowly lose their side peripheral vision and over time, straight-ahead central vision may decrease until no vision remains. Fortunately however, early diagnosis and treatment can significantly reduce the incidence of vision loss.

Who is at risk?

Approximately 1 of every 10,000 babies born in Australia has glaucoma.* Although glaucoma is more common with adults over 40 years, anyone can develop glaucoma and with an aging population, the number of people living with glaucoma is predicted to significantly increase in the future.

What causes glaucoma?

In most cases, glaucoma is a result of increased pressure in the eye. Eye pressure is caused by a build-up of eye fluid. Normally, eye fluid flows throughout the eye and drains into the front of the eye and when this drainage system doesn’t work properly, eye pressure begins to build.

The exact cause of glaucoma is unknown, however, there are many factors such as age, family, history of glaucoma, poor vision and other health factors that can make an individual more susceptible to the condition.

Help for glaucoma patients

The Centre for Eye Health (CFEH) is a not-for-profit joint initiative by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and the University of New South Wales with the aim of reducing preventable blindness. Through community funding, CFEH has been able to provide state-of-the-art eye imaging and visual system diagnostic services to the general community at no charge to clients.

To date, 775 patients with diagnosed glaucoma have had their condition managed through a specialised glaucoma care clinic at the CFEH in Sydney. The aptly named Glaucoma Management Clinic (GMC) is a collaboration between Prince of Wales Hospital Ophthalmology and CFEH.

Affordable glaucoma treatment and care

Although ongoing care and check-ups are necessary to monitor the condition, the public healthcare system places patients on a long waiting list and the financial costs involved is the biggest barrier for most patients.

In order to make treatment and care for eye conditions easily accessible to the community, the CFEH offers on-site Optometrists and Ophthalmologists that provide check-ups and consultations with no personal out of pocket expense from patients thanks to the financial support from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

The CFEH waiting list is also significantly shorter than the public health system with an average appointment time of just 6 weeks from referral by a practitioner. By offering this service, CFEH and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT hope to assist more people in getting the appropriate care to prevent vision loss.

Get help today

Ask your practitioner for a referral to the Centre for Eye Health and get the help you need to assist your vision.

For more information:

Help us, help others

CFEH is a community-funded organisation that is able to provide help at no charge to patients thanks to your donations and every bit counts!

Support the Centre for Eye Health Initiative by donating to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT: https://www.guidedogs.com.au/donate-now

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