Glaucoma Awareness Week

It is Glaucoma Awareness Week. Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions which damage the optic nerve and can affect your vision. The most common type is primary open angle glaucoma, also known as chronic glaucoma, which has no symptoms in the early stages but can gradually destroy sight if it is not detected and treated. Glaucoma can affect anyone so it is important to have eye tests at least every two years, especially if any of the following apply to you as they increase the risk of developing glaucoma:

  • being over 40
  • having a family history of glaucoma
  • being very short sighted
  • having diabetes
  • being of African origin

Early detection of glaucoma is crucial as treatment is available but any damage already caused is irreversible. It is estimated that approximately 2% of people over 40 have glaucoma. 13% of people registered as severely sight impaired in the UK have glaucoma of some type. (Source: International Glaucoma Association).

Developing a visual impairment such as glaucoma can be a very anxious time as sight loss impacts on all aspects of day-to-day life including getting around, working, socialising, hobbies and carrying out household tasks. Visual Impairment Rehabilitation Workers are specialists in the practical aspects of sight loss. They work with people who are partially sighted and blind to support them develop new skills and strategies to more easily and safely live with sight loss.

Birmingham City University is the main UK training provider of Rehabilitation Workers, offering a two-year Foundation Degree course in Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment).