Know Your Numbers
Most Australians understand their health numbers, such as blood pressure, blood cholesterol, fasting blood glucose and body mass index and understand the consequences if numbers are too high and how and when to mitigate their risks.
It is equally important to be aware of your eye health numbers, and what the risk could include. For example, high eye pressure can be an indication of glaucoma which can cause irreversible vision loss due to damage to the optic nerve. The loss of sight is usually gradual and a considerable amount of peripheral (side) vision may be lost before there is an awareness of any problem.
- Over 300,000 Australians are estimated to have glaucoma
- 50% are unaware they have it because they haven’t had a comprehensive eye exam
- If you have a family history of glaucoma you have a 1 in 4 chance of developing it too.
- You should have a comprehensive eye exam every 2 years from the age of 50; or from the age of 40 if you have a family history of glaucoma or are of Asian or African descent.
Early detection and treatment can save sight. For information on vision aids that might suit, Glaucoma Australia recommends contacting Quantum RLV on 1300 883 853.
Family history plays an important role in the development of glaucoma, as it does in a person developing macular degeneration. One in seven people over the age of 50 has signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD.) if you are over 50 years of age it is important to have a macula check as part of your eye examination, as early detection is crucial to saving sight. Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, good nutrition and exercise are positive actions you can take.
If you have diabetes and you’re over 50, you have a one in three chance of having diabetic retinopathy. Knowing your risks, and having regular macula checks, is the only way to protect your vision.