Men more at danger of sight loss than women

Post date: 
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
Men more at danger of sight loss than women

Men are at greater risk of losing their sight than women because they ignore early warning signs and do not seek medical attention, according to a recent study.

Independent research focusing on glaucoma, carried out by City, University of London, showed that men are 16 per cent more likely than women to suffer advanced vision loss. 
Glaucoma, often described as the ‘silent thief of sight’ due to its gradual onset, causes damage to the optic nerve. It affects 64 million people worldwide and more than 600,000 in the UK, making it the leading cause of irreversible blindness.
In order to raise awareness of the issue and encourage both men and women to have regular eye examinations, Specsavers has launched a health information campaign in partnership with the International Glaucoma Association (IGA). The £1m initiative will coincide with World Glaucoma Week, which runs from 12-18 March. 
Karen Osborn, CEO of the IGA, says: ‘Glaucoma is found in 2 per cent of the UK’s population aged over 40. Most of those people have a slow-developing form of the condition and we estimate that half of all cases – that’s over 300,000 people – remain undiagnosed and are unaware that they are slowly losing their sight. 
Research shows more men than women are expected to be in this group because they simply do not seek medical treatment as readily as women.
Osborn adds: ‘The health awareness campaign the IGA is working on with Specsavers will educate about the importance of regular eye examinations before it is too late to save your sight.’
RNIB and Specsavers revealed last year that nearly 14 million people in the UK are not having their eyes tested every two years as recommended, leading to a huge burden on the economy due to easily preventable vision-related issues.
Sally Harvey, CEO of RNIB, adds: ‘We welcome any initiative that helps to transform attitudes to eye health and prevents sight loss.’
By World Glaucoma Week, all Specsavers optometrists nationwide will have completed Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre (WOPEC) Level 1 glaucoma accreditation – giving them the skills to detect and monitor the condition – with Level 2 set to be achieved by September.  
Specsavers clinical spokesperson, Dr Nigel Best, says: ‘The only way to know if your eyes are healthy and your vision is accurate is to have your eyes checked by an optician at least once every two years. 
‘By detecting and monitoring glaucoma on the high street, our optometrists can help to ensure people with glaucoma don’t get to the stage where the condition becomes sight-threatening. This not only greatly enhances their quality of life, helping to reduce isolation, depression and maintain independence by reducing reliance on others, it also has positive economic impacts.’ 

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