An estimated 3% of people over the age of 50 in Ireland already have glaucoma and the Central Statistics Office estimates that the prevalence of the condition will jump by 33% by 2021, due to our ageing population[1]. The condition, which is often referred to as the silent thief of sight due to its gradual onset, is the third largest cause of blindness in the world[2].


With World Glaucoma Week (March 8-14) just around the corner, Specsavers is raising awareness on the common eye condition known as the ‘silent thief’ by sharing some unusual facts and important advice.


An Insight

We’re all guilty of googling our symptoms but with glaucoma being symptomless, it’s important to understand what the condition is before you start worrying. Chairperson of Specsavers, Kerril Hickey, comments: ‘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.’


Optical Technology & Regular Eye Checks

Specsavers stores nationwide have introduced Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scanners - a cutting-edge piece of equipment that allows opticians to view the eye in more detail than ever before. OCT can also help to detect glaucoma up to four years in advance. Kerril comments: ‘This innovative technology gives our opticians the ability to enhance the offering for customers by identifying and helping to detect or manage conditions such as glaucoma.’


Let’s Get Physical

While caffeine can raise eye pressure, some studies[3] indicate that regular exercise can lower it. While there is no evidence to prove this can directly prevent glaucoma, it does support overall eye health and that can only be a good thing.


Be a Fighter and Put Down the Lighter

While many people know that smoking is bad for your health, some don’t know that smoking can have a detrimental impact on our eyes, it can cause a plethora of complications and even increase the risk of glaucoma. Kerril adds: ‘While there is no evidence that smoking itself is a risk factor for glaucomatous damage, older smokers do have a higher risk of developing increased eye pressure compared to non-smokers.’


Drive Carefully

Group Two drivers (those who drive lorries and buses) need to advise the NDLS even if they have glaucoma in just one eye, as tests are more stringent for commercial drivers. For Group One drivers (cars and motorcycles), the NDLS only needs to be advised of glaucoma when it affects both eyes.


All Store Information.



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