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World Sight Day - Britons at Risk of Losing Their Sight by Not Having Regular Eye Tests
Date:10/8/2008

Glaucoma Leading Cause of Preventable Blindness in the UK(1) Though

Awareness of Symptoms and Risk Factors Remains Low

WALTON OAKS, England, October 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Today on World Sight Day leading experts aim to raise awareness of the eye disease glaucoma. It is estimated that there are currently up to 500,000 people in England and Wales who are at risk of losing their sight due to undiagnosed glaucoma(2) despite the condition being the leading cause of preventable blindness in the UK(1).

Glaucoma is the name for a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. In most cases, this damage is caused by increased pressure inside the eye(3). Whereas most people are aware of the importance of checking their blood pressure, awareness around the importance of eye pressure is low(4).

A survey supported by Pfizer Ltd. reveals that UK adults are more likely to visit their GP and dentist than they are their optician, with less than half of Brits having had their eyes tested during the last five to ten years, and 1 in 5 would only visit an optician when a problem is obvious(5). Further research also suggests that despite this apathy nearly twice as many Britons feared going blind more than having a heart attack or dying prematurely(4).

"In all the developed world only half of those with glaucoma are diagnosed and receiving therapies. This need not be the case - everyone has access to eye health professionals. Let's make this country the first to prevent unnecessary blindness and disability from glaucoma," Mr Ian Murdoch, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Moorfields Eye Hospital.

TV personality Gloria Hunniford, who has lent her support to the Windows to Health campaign which aims to raise awareness of glaucoma and having regular eye tests, says: "It is estimated that 95% of what we learn about the world around us comes through vision and hearing, which makes blindness and particularly preventable blindness a dev
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SOURCE World Sight Day
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