By Adrian Galbreth
People across the planet are potentially risking their sight by failing to have their eyes checked for signs of diseases such as glaucoma, according to new research.
A new study based in Canada, which could reflect global trends, found that many Canadian glaucoma patients are not screened until the disease has reached moderate or advanced stages.
In some cases this can be attributed to the failure of care providers to screen subjects, while in others it is the fault of the individual for not having their sight regularly tested, but it indicates a worrying trend, according to the experts.
In a multi-centre study, Lawson Health Research Institute's Dr Cindy Hutnik and colleagues examined the risk factors shared by 404 newly-diagnosed patients across 18 Canadian locations.
Each was assessed for demographic information, medical history, and ocular family history, as well as a complete eye exam.
Overall, the results were largely consistent with the international standards, confirming older age, structural abnormalities and deterioration, and high intraocular pressure as the leading glaucoma risk factors.
However, the data showed that 48 per cent of these new diagnoses were already at moderate to advanced stages, which suggest many people could already be at significant risk of blindness.
The expert stated: "Almost half to two-thirds of your optic nerve is dead before you even get a visual field defect."
"If you're late getting your clinical screening test, the nerve has been dying for a long time and once it's dead, it's dead. You can only prevent it from getting worse."
by Adrian Galbreth