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National Glaucoma Awareness Month: What causes Glaucoma? | Affinity Health

In light of Glaucoma Awareness Month, Affinity Health, discusses how this common condition that can result in blindness.


What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a collection of eye diseases that affect the optic nerve, which is essential for proper vision. An excessively high pressure in your eye is often the source of this damage. While the disease is more common in the elderly, it can strike at any age.


Known as silent killer of vision or the “sneak thief of sight,” Glaucoma is the third largest cause of blindness all over the world following cataract and trachoma. The condition accounts for more than 14% of total blind population.


The Three Different Types Of Glaucoma

There are three different types of this disease.


Because progression is slow across all three types, many patients may not detect a change in vision until the condition has progressed significantly. Sadly, vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible and can lead to blindness. This is why it’s critical to get frequent eye exams that include measures of your eye pressure so that a diagnosis may be made early and treatment can begin.


What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma can occur for a number of reasons but in most cases the disease runs is hereditary. Scientists have discovered genes linked to excessive eye pressure and optic nerve injury in some people. This means that you are more likely to develop glaucoma if you have a parent or sibling with the condition.


Read More: Glaucoma: Everything You Need To Know


Glaucoma Signs And Symptoms

Glaucoma signs and symptoms vary depending on the kind and stage of the disease but can include:

  • Patchy blind spots in your side (peripheral) or central vision, often in both eyes
  • Tunnel vision
  • Severe headache
  • Eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Halos surrounding lights (akin to the appearance of rainbow-coloured circles)


When Should You See A Doctor?

If you encounter some of the symptoms of glaucoma, it’s important that you seek help immediately. This can be done by either by going to an emergency health clinic or by booking an appointment with an ophthalmologist for a full eye check-up.


“Regular eye screenings are also imperative in the prevention of glaucoma,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“We recommend a comprehensive eye exam every five to ten years; every two to four years if you’re 40 to 54 years old; every one to three years if you’re 55 to 64 years old; and every one to two years if you’re over 65 years old. If you’re at risk for glaucoma, you’ll need to get your eyes checked more frequently.”


Read More: Affinity Health Casts Light on Healthy Vision and Eye Protection


Affinity Health offers a wide range of Optometry benefits for members’ optical requirements no matter the time of year to keep your blinkers healthy. Optometry services include eye tests and a standard set of frames with lenses every 24 months.

Download the Affinity Health Optometry Benefit Guide Here

Should a member require a surgical procedure for the treatment of an eye condition, this is covered under the Daily Illness benefit in a Network Day Clinic or hospital subject to Pre-authorisation and approval, provided the case meets the Affinity Health Clinical Guidelines and Managed Healthcare Protocols.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of health insurance, offering you a range of options at affordable rates including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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