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Department of University Relations

Free eye tests to mark Third World Glaucoma Week

Posted on 08 March 2010

The Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pretoria will be conducting free eye tests for glaucoma, in partnership with the following hospitals: Steve Biko Academic; Kalafong; Tshwane District; Pretoria West and Bronkhorstspruit. The eye tests will be conducted from 08h00 until 14h00 10 March 2010 at various hospitals.

Glaucoma is a progressive disease which can cause irreversible loss of vision. Untreated glaucoma leads to permanent damage of the optic nerve which results in visual field loss, progressing to permanent blindness. Glaucoma affects 50 per cent of people in a developing world, and 90 per cent of people in the developing world are not aware that they have the disease.

Symptoms of glaucoma are usually not noticeable in its early stages and people are urged to do regular eye check ups. One common symptom causes is loss of peripheral vision or reduced clarity of colours. Ophthalmologists and optometrists diagnose glaucoma on the basis of intraocular pressure, visual field tests and also by the shape or appearance of an optic nerve.

The main risk factors for developing glaucoma is positive family history of having the disease, and it also more prevalent in people of African descent and people already suffering from Myopia (shot sightedness).

Free eye tests will be done preferably on people above the age of 40, as they are at a greater risk of developing glaucoma.

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