Chris Bennett: Glaucoma in the public eye
Author: Chris Bennett
Glaucoma Awareness Week (June 17-23) had a positive ring about it this year, not easy for the leading cause of treatable sight loss in the UK and a condition that affects close to three quarters of a million people.
It’s glaucoma’s title as the leading cause of preventable sight loss that provides a natural link to optometry. The International Glaucoma Association’s ‘Sightseeing or sight loss’ ad campaign put going to the optometrist (optician) front and centre.
The ads are designed to support those taking drops as they jet off on holiday. The supporting website asks, then answers, some simple questions. The website also poses the premise that if your sight is fine why see an optician? Detection of glaucoma is the answer in this case but such a simple, direct message to go to an optician for the general health of your eyes, it’s a good one to hear.
Glaucoma treatments have been in the news too. In March, around the time of World Glaucoma Week, The Lancet outlined findings showing how more effective selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) was than long term use of drops (22.03.19). Indeed just the week before that announcement Optician published a major clinical article on the use of drops and the latest developments in glaucoma detection.
It may not carry the weight of The Lancet but this week The Daily Mail reports on the use of a goniotome technique being used in Sheffield to clear the trabecular meshwork. The article carried the message that glaucoma creeps up on the patient and the optician is the place to get checked out.
Readers would also have noticed key figures from the IGA visiting Specsavers’ headquarters in Guernsey last week as it strengthened its alliance with the multiple. A mainstream approach to a mainstream problem.