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DON'T LOSE SIGHT OF FAMILY Start conversations. Get tested. Save sight.

Glaucoma is a family matter. The condition has a strong genetic risk factor – having a first degree relative with primary open angle glaucoma more than doubles your chance of developing it yourself. 

We know that it can be difficult to bring up people’s health. It can feel like you’re intruding or nagging. But by talking to your family about glaucoma, you might be giving them the ultimate gift of sight – something they’ll definitely thank you for. Here are just a few questions that can help you start a conversation.

Have you ever heard about glaucoma? 

Glaucoma is a group of related diseases in which the eye’s optic nerve is damaged. It’s normally caused by excessive pressure in the eye, but because it’s progressive it can go easily unnoticed until the damage is beyond repair. Without diagnosis and treatment, glaucoma damages peripheral and side vision, and can ultimately lead to blindness. 

Do you know how you get diagnosed with glaucoma?

Glaucoma is mostly unnoticeable to us, unless we notice a loss of vision – at which point it’s too late to reverse the damage. Luckily, optometrists and eye health professionals have the technology to detect high eye pressure and a presence of glaucoma before it can cause any damage. That’s why it’s so important to get regular eye exams – at Glaucoma New Zealand, we recommend getting tested every 5 years after the age of 45, or every 3 years if you’re over 60. 

Has anyone in the family had glaucoma before?

Family gatherings are a good opportunity to ask your family about their own histories with glaucoma or other eye conditions. Get everyone involved and make sure you’re all on the same page and have the same knowledge. Family gatherings are also a great chance to spread the word about glaucoma.

Don’t be afraid of ‘nagging’ or being nosey – your family will thank you for your commitment and care about their vision. While it might seem a little embarrassing, it can make all the difference in saving your loved ones’ sight. 

This July is our Annual Appeal, when we’re reminding all Kiwis to not lose sight of family. Start conversations, get tested, and save sight. Donate now at glaucoma.org.nz 

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