The level of the eye condition glaucoma is expected to rise by 33% in Ireland over the coming decade, eye health organisations in Ireland have warned.
The message from the Association of Optometrists Ireland, Irish College of Ophthalmologists and NCBI, the national sight-loss agency, is that treatment for glaucoma works very well if detected early and usually involves eye drops alone.
It is estimated that 3% of the older population (over the age 50) has Glaucoma. The symptoms include reduced peripheral vision and, at an advanced stage, the condition can lead to blindness.
Glaucoma is related to problems with the pressure of fluid in the eye. The test to detect the condition is carried out as part of a routine eye examination given by optometrists. It is quick, non-invasive and produces an immediate result.
The expected 33% rise in the numbers of over 50’s with glaucoma is linked to the anticipated increase in the population between 2011 and 2021, as projected by the Central Statistics Office. However, the Irish optical bodies highlighted that the rise may be higher than this as the incidence of glaucoma will also increase as more people live longer. Glaucoma is the highest-rising cause of preventable blindness in the western world.