Specsavers Ópticas has today launched its Glaucoma 2020 campaign, to raise awareness of the condition known as the silent thief of sight.

To support World Glaucoma Week, this week (8-14 March), Specsavers Ópticas is advising people of the importance of detecting glaucoma in its early stages and encouraging them to book a comprehensive eye test.

With glaucoma often being symptomless in its early stages, it’s also important to understand what the condition is.

Glaucoma occurs when naturally-occurring fluid inside the eye does not drain properly, causing a build-up of pressure. The condition often affects both eyes, usually to varying degrees, however, there are two types – chronic glaucoma which develops slowly with subtle changes to your vision, and acute glaucoma which develops rapidly with a sudden, painful build-up of pressure in the eye

Specsavers Ópticas stores have on many occasions helped to successfully detect glaucoma and in turn ensured customers can get the treatment they need to manage the condition.

One such customer was Richard Savidge who had not had an eye test for several years. It was when his brother and then his sister had recently been diagnosed with glaucoma, he decided it was time to get checked. He was not aware of any issues with his eyes, other than the fact that they were not as good as they used to be.

He had a thorough eye examination at Specsavers Ópticas in Javea which included an examination of the optic nerve head, measurement of the pressure within the eye and a visual field examination. All three tests led the optometrist Louise Stone to suspect that Mr Savidge could also have glaucoma. She advised him to see his doctor and the team has since been informed that he has been to his local ophthalmology department and their suspicions were correct.

Louise adds: ‘Mr Savidge has been given drops to reduce the pressure within the eye with the aim of preventing any further damage to his optic nerve.  The hope is that by preserving a healthy optic nerve Mr Savidge should retain good eyesight throughout his life. We are very happy to have been able to spot the signs and send him to get the help he needed.’

According to the General Council of Opticians Colleges (CGCOO), 2.1% of 50-59 year olds have glaucoma, this percentage increases to 2.3% in the 60-69 age group and 3.5% of those 70 years old or more. [1]

The President of the General Council of Opticians Colleges (CGCOO), Juan Carlos Martínez Moral says: ‘In Spain alone, glaucoma affects more than half a million people. Half of those aren’t aware they have the disease due to lack of symptoms and the chance of developing the condition increases with age.’

The organisation ONCE, supporting visually impaired people in Spain reported that, as of December 2019, 4.9% of its members had suffered vision loss as a result of glaucoma. The number of new members in 2019 with glaucoma was 9.2%, suggesting that it is an increasingly important factor in blindness in Spain.[2]

Globally more than 64 million people worldwide have glaucoma, and of these, many are unaware of it. To identify whether you have glaucoma, before you develop symptoms which could permanently damage your sight, make an appointment for a complete eye test at Specsavers Ópticas. Find your nearest store at www.specsavers.es

[1] CGCOO Press release

[2] Statistics from ONCE