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Glaucoma Awareness Month: Have you had your eye test yet?

Doctors at NHS East Lancashire and NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are encouraging local residents to take part in their routine eye tests, at least once every two years this Glaucoma Awareness Month.

Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. Glaucoma is usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye. It can lead to reduced vision and even blindness.

In most cases Glaucoma does not present with symptoms until very late when some irreversible damage may have already occurred. Glaucoma can be managed and for this reason it is recommended that people have their eyes tested at least every 2 years. The eye tests are painless and include measurements of the pressure inside your eye and tests of your peripheral vision.

We want take this opportunity to also remind the public that their eye health is critically important and we would urge patients to seek urgent medical attention should they develop any of the following symptoms:

• intense eye pain
• nausea and vomiting
• a red eye
• a headache
• tenderness around the eyes
• seeing rings around lights
• blurred vision

Dr Rahul Thakur a local GP and clinical lead at the CCGs, said:
“Glaucoma can cause serious damage to your eyes and in worst case scenarios it can lead to blindness. This is why it is important to diagnose the problem during the early stages of the illness and the best way to do this is have regular eye tests, at least once every 2 years.”

“I would encourage all patients to take part in their routine eye tests at least once every two years so if anyone does develop Glaucoma it can be diagnosed early to prevent any long terms problems. If you are 40 or over and your mother, father, sibling or child has been diagnosed with glaucoma you are entitled to a free eye test.”

If tests suggest you have glaucoma, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) to discuss treatment.

There are a number of ways to treat glaucoma including taking eye drops to reduce the pressure in your eyes, laser treatment to open up the blocked drainage tubes in your eyes or surgery to improve the drainage of fluid from your eyes.

If you need any more information about glaucoma, or to find out what to do if you feel you are experiencing any symptoms visit:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Glaucoma/Pages/Introduction.aspx