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Sunday 24th June 2018

Thousands unnecessarily blind

16th January 2007

17052006_Eye2.jpgThe Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) has warned that thousands of people are needlessly succumbing to glaucoma and losing their sight as a result.

The charity says that many people who have been diagnosed with the condition are failing to use their medication properly which is causing them to go blind.  The RNIB says that a third of patients stop taking the eye drops which are guaranteed to save their sight.  Glaucoma has no symptoms in the early stages but, once diagnosed, requires patients to use eye drops for life.  A spokeswoman for the charity said, “Nobody in the UK should be losing their sight to glaucoma any more [but] sadly people continue to do so and often it's because patients have no symptoms and so simply stop taking their drops."

A report by the charity has identified three main reasons why people lose their sight due to glaucoma; they experience difficulty with their treatment, they stop treatment altogether or the condition is not detected early enough.  The RNIB plans to launch a campaign to encourage people to have regular eye examinations and follow medical advice.   Certain groups of people are particularly at risk; people of African and African-Caribbean origin are four times more likely to develop glaucoma and those over 40 whose relatives already have the condition, as well as diabetics, are also considered to be at risk.

The RNIB says that children under 16 and adults over 60 should have an annual eye test and the rest of the population should have one every two years unless they have been advised otherwise.


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