A BURNHAM-on-Sea optometrist has said early diagnosis is 'essential' to prevent glaucoma.
The optometrist is encouraging Burnham residents to educate themselves on the condition which causes loss of vision and in severe cases blindness and said it is important for people to take part in World Glaucoma Week which runs from March 12 to March 18.
David Bull, an optometrist from Burnham-on-Sea said: "Early detection, diagnosis and treatment are essential if the permanent visual loss that glaucoma can cause is to be kept to a minimum.
"Symptoms can vary from none at all to severe eye or head pains depending on the type and stage of the condition.
"Glaucoma is on the increase in every country and recent research shows that men tend to be diagnosed at a later, more advanced stage of the condition as they tend to ignore the early warning signs.
"This year’s World Glaucoma Week runs from March 12 to March 18 with the aim of raising awareness about this condition which is one of the commonest causes of loss of vision and blindness in the world.
“Glaucoma is detected through a series of painless of tests including:
"Examination of the optic nerve – preferably with a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems.
"Measurement of pressure inside the eye by using an instrument called a tonometer, more up-to-date and accurate instruments now allow this without the need for drops or the air puff that many people are familiar with.
"A visual field test which measures your peripheral (side vision). It helps your eye care professional tell if you have lost peripheral vision, a sign of glaucoma.”
David said he recommends people over the age of 40 are tested for the condition every two years because the condition can affect anyone.
"Some people are more at risk, for example if you have a close relative with glaucoma, and need more regular checks.
"Early detection, diagnosis and treatment are essential if the permanent visual loss that glaucoma can cause is to be kept to a minimum."
For more information about World Glaucoma Week or the condition visit http://www.wgweek.net/