Lizann Lang from Torrance has called for people over 40 to book a potentially vision-saving eye test during World Glaucoma Week (11-18 March). A retired PA, Lizann was diagnosed with the early stages of Glaucoma following a routine eye examination at Black & Lizars in Milngavie.
She said: “When I was diagnosed with Glaucoma, I was just in for a routine eye exam when I mentioned to my optometrist that my family had a history of the condition.
The staff at the practice ran a number of different tests including pressure, field tests and scans of my optic nerve and established that I had the early signs of Glaucoma. I’d always been short-sighted and struggled to see well in the dark, but I didn’t have big blurry patches in my vision that I associated with the condition. If it hadn’t have been caught as early as it had, my vision would have deteriorated very quickly. I was just lucky that Black & Lizars spotted it and referred me to the hospital when they did!
“I encourage my friends and family to get their eyes tested regularly and I would urge others to do the same. I’m so grateful that my condition was caught early. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my sight.”
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness globally, often going undetected until the condition has become more severe, but if caught early can be easily treated. Free on the NHS, eye tests not only detect long and short-sightedness, but can identify underlying conditions like Glaucoma, hypertension, or in very rare instances, cancers and tumours.
The optometrist who diagnosed Lizann, Morven Campbell (who is also Clinical Services Manager at Black & Lizars), explained: “If left untreated, Glaucoma patients’ peripheral vision will gradually get worse and can lead to blindness. Glaucoma affects 1-2% of the population over 40 years old, and patients are often unaware of it in the early stages when it doesn’t present obvious symptoms.
“Glaucoma causes pressures inside the eye to rise as there’s an imbalance of fluid entering and being drained from the eye. This often means that peripheral vision slowly deteriorates and blurry patches can appear.
“Thankfully the condition can be detected under a straightforward, free eye exam. If caught early enough, the condition can be managed with drops, or in more advanced cases, laser treatment or surgery. People with Glaucoma cannot be cured of it, but if it is treated properly, the patient can enjoy useful vision for life.
“We recommend having your eyes tested once every two years, or more regularly if you are over 60 or have a family history of Glaucoma.”
Spot the symptoms of Glaucoma:
- The vast majority of Glaucoma has no symptoms in the early stages and requires an eye examination to detect
- In more advanced cases some patients notice blurred or hazy vision – particularly in your peripheral vision, this could cause you to trip over things.
- A particular type of glaucoma can cause sudden symptoms such as rainbow halos around bright lights
- Severe and protracted pain in the eyes or head
- Dizziness or nausea
- Sudden loss or deterioration of sight- these symptoms are an emergency and you should attend immediately