This week is World Glaucoma Week (8 – 14 March) and Rotherham eye experts are urging locals to be aware of their eye health and the signs of glaucoma.
NHS Choices defines Glaucoma as a condition which can affect sight, usually due to build up of pressure within the eye. It often affects both eyes, usually to varying degrees although one eye may develop glaucoma quicker than the other. The eye ball contains a fluid called aqueous humour which is constantly produced by the eye, with any excess drained: Glaucoma develops when the fluid cannot drain properly and pressure builds up and this can damage the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain.
The decline in sight over time often causes worry and loss of confidence and there could be people in Rotherham who have Glaucoma but are currently undiagnosed, its estimated that there are a quarter of a million people in the UK still undiagnosed. World Glaucoma Week is a good time to remind people to look out for the symptoms:
“The most common type of Glaucoma is symptomless by signs of Glaucoma can include, misty vision or loss of sight, for example, and the condition can run in families too.” says Mr Jabir, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Rotherham Hospital, part of The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.
“Early detection and treatment can slow down or halt the development of Glaucoma, which is why it is so important to have regular eye tests,” added Mr Jabir.
To further support those who are diagnosed with Glaucoma, or with another eye condition such as age-related macular degeneration, there is a dedicated Action for Blind People Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) based at Rotherham Hospital.
For some people a referral to the ECLO can be for something as little as receiving a phone number for the bus pass office. But for others, it can involve a complex assessment of needs, including advice in accessing other support services provided by partner agencies.
Michelle Swann, Rotherham Hospital’s ECLO, commented: “We really want to get the message out there that we can help! From providing simple things like devices to tell those with sight difficulties when the kettle is full; to support with matters that can be more complex, such as finances, there is always somebody who can help.”
The ECLO offers time, outside of the patient’s appointment with their clinician, to talk about their condition, share any worries or concerns and talk through empowering practical steps, if necessary. Should patients require extra support; the ECLO can refer to specialist providers such as RNIB and Action for Blind People’s Emotional Support Counselling Service.
Michelle Swann, Rotherham’s ECLO, is based on Level C of Rotherham Hospital and appointments can be made on 01709 427983 or by emailing: Michelle.Swann@rothgen.nhs.uk
Those experiencing any change in their eyesight should consult their optician.
For more information about the work of The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, please visit: http://www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/
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