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HomeminewsHost a B.I.G Breakfast this Glaucoma Week

Host a B.I.G Breakfast this Glaucoma Week

Glaucoma Australia is calling on eye health professionals to support World Glaucoma Week from 8–14 March 2015 by hosting a B.I.G. Breakfast.

The B.I.G. (Beat Invisible Glaucoma) Breakfast campaign aims to create awareness of glaucoma, particularly among people who have direct relatives with the disease, and to encourage regular eye testing.

Of the more than 300,000 Australians who have glaucoma, only half know about it; mostly because they haven’t had a simple optic nerve check, according to Geoff Pollard, national executive officer of Glaucoma Australia.

“Direct relatives of people with glaucoma are 10 times more likely than the general community to get glaucoma at some stage. Accordingly, a great number of the 50 per cent of people with undiagnosed glaucoma would already have known glaucoma in their family. That’s why it’s so important for close relatives to get regular optic nerve checks as part of a comprehensive eye test. Having an early diagnosis is vital to preserve vision as, by the time symptoms develop, significant sight loss has usually occurred. Glaucoma is truly an invisible disease,” he said.

Glaucoma can affect people at any age but the incidence does increase dramatically with age and family history status – one in 200 people aged 40 has glaucoma – rising to one in eight by the age of 80.

“About 11,000 Australians are blind from glaucoma at any one time – this is a tragedy that is largely preventable,” said Mr. Pollard.

The financial burden of glaucoma in Australia is on the increase. According to Glaucoma Australia, in 2005, the cost of health care associated with glaucoma was AU$342 million and the total annual cost of glaucoma was $1.9 billion. That total cost is expected to increase to $4.3 billion by 2025.