Written by Clinical Professor Ivan Goldberg AM Ophthalmologist
This article first appeared in mivision issue 132 March 2018. It has been reprinted with the permission of mivision (Toma Publishing)
March 2018 marks 30 years of activity for Glaucoma Australia (GA) in pursuit of its mission to eliminate glaucoma blindness. Now blossoming as a digitally empowered organisation, GA forges ever-tighter bonds with health professionals across the spectrum of eye care in order to better serve people with glaucoma.
The glaucomas are progressive in the visual damage they wreak and the damage caused is irreversible. In early to moderate stages, this damage is only vaguely symptomatic and can be largely prevented with effective treatment strategies. This means earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment are essential to achieve GA's mission.
Yet in Australia, up to half of all glaucoma patients are unaware of their condition and on no treatment. Half of those on treatment are non-adherent to their drops or their follow-up appointments, non- persistent with their program, or physically unable to instil eye-drops effectively. The challenges are daunting, the urgency is real, however the good news is, opportunities are beckoning.
The goal of World Glaucoma Week (11–17 March) is to increase community awareness of glaucoma and encourage more frequent eye checks. This is being actively pursued in Australia with an emphasis on targeting high-risk first-degree relatives, which is where we believe our efforts will yield the greatest benefit.
Guiding and informing people who are being treated for glaucoma has a positive impact: adherence rates double with the knowledge of two facts: glaucoma can blind and treatment can save sight. You can play your part by looking for glaucoma, encouraging people to be tested regularly, and referring people with glaucoma to their lay organisation for information and support. Be involved actively in the elimination of glaucoma blindness.
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