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Saving your sight could be as simple as getting an eye test

October 11, 2012

Saving your sight could be as simple as getting an eye test Jan Boxall, Chair Board of Directors and Ann Clark, Chief Executive Officer on World Sight Day

When Tom Elliott was 34, he decided to get his eyesight checked and after a routine vision test, the optometrist performed an eye pressure test, which Tom was sure she only did because she had a few minutes to spare.

Luckily for Tom she did have the time, as the pressure in his right eye was elevated. Tom was immediately referred to Dr Michael Coote, glaucoma specialist at the Eye and Ear.

I was stunned when he diagnosed me with glaucoma – I thought it was a disease that only older people got, says Mr Elliott.

Around 80 per cent of avoidable vision loss is Australia is caused by five conditions, one of which is glaucoma. The prevalence of all of them increases with age.

The good news is that 75% of blindness and vision loss is preventable and treatable. Today is World Sight Day and is a chance to emphasise the essential steps to protect vision. The key to good eye health is regular eye tests by an eye care professional and seeking advice as soon as changes in vision are experienced.

Tom has been living with glaucoma for 10 years now and continues to manage the condition on a daily basis.

“I know Tom is the type of person who wants it to be cured, but at the moment there is no cure; it is something he has to manage daily with eye drops, explains Dr Coote. “He is in the best possible hands though, as the Eye and Ear continues to pioneer technologies to treat the disease and we predict some real breakthroughs in the near future.

“Tom is exceedingly lucky, as early detection has saved his sight; it’s important if someone in your family has glaucoma or you have suffered eye trauma, to have your eyes checked regularly.

“It was serendipity that I was tested that day. I feel very fortunate as it could have resulted in me becoming blind, says Mr Elliott.