His Excellency David Hurley AC DSC visited the Flinders Medical Centre on Friday, 13 March to attend the patient symposium hosted by Glaucoma Australia and undergo an eye test as part of World Glaucoma Week.
Glaucoma Australia was delighted that the Governor-General and Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley attended the patient symposium, which offered glaucoma patients the opportunity to hear about the latest research into genetic markers for the disease. A panel of experts across the disciplines of ophthalmology, optometry, pharmacy and orthoptics also discussed the benefits of collaborative care for people with glaucoma, and patients will offered their perspectives on living with glaucoma.
The visit came at a crucial time in the national health calendar as Glaucoma Australia is encouraging all Australians over 50 and those with a family history of the disease, to get their eyes checked as part of its Don’t be Blindsided campaign, timed to coincide with World Glaucoma Week.
The powerful campaign urges Australians to have their eyes checked by an optometrist every two years to prevent the irreversible damage caused by glaucoma if left untreated.
“We were absolutely delighted to have had our patron, The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, David Hurley, as part of our patient symposium, and importantly undertaking an eye exam, which is our core call to arms for all Australians in our fight against the disease," said Annie Gibbins, CEO of Glaucoma Australia.
Presenting at the symposium was Professor Jamie Craig, who is working on a research project that is supported by funding from Glaucoma Australia. Professor Craig is working in the field of risk-profiling for glaucoma, to identify common genetic markers to better predict an individual's likelihood of developing the disease. It is at the forefront of early detection efforts.
“Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, affecting more than 60 million people. In Australia, there are more than 300,000 Australians suffering from some form of glaucoma. While one in 200 Australians over the age of 40 will develop glaucoma, the prevalence increases to one is 8 by age 80. Half of those in the earlier stages are undiagnosed, and tragically may present later with irreversible vision loss,” Professor Craig said.
“These alarming statistics show that early detection is key in minimising vision loss – many people who have lost vision could have maintained their sight if the diagnosis and treatments were delivered sooner. This is why the work that Glaucoma Australia and eye health professionals are doing in the area of early detection is so important – and why the patient symposium was critical in improving patient outcomes and quality of life through collaborative care,” Annie Gibbins added.
Glaucoma Risk Factors
You are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma if you:
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