Lions raise awareness of glaucoma

The Lions clubs in the Cayman Islands are joining fellow members around the world this month to raise awareness of glaucoma, one of the most common and preventable causes of blindness.

Lions in Cayman and across the globe are currently raising funds through their Campaign SightFirst II programme. The goal is to raise at least US$150 million by 30 June to continue and expand the work of SightFirst, a worldwide programme to combat preventable blindness.

What is glaucoma?

Known as the ‘sneak thief of sight,’ glaucoma is a specific pattern of optic nerve (the nerve that sends visual messages from the eye to the brain) damage and visual field loss caused by a number of different eye diseases. Most of these diseases are characterized by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure destroys the optic nerve. Without the optic nerve, tunnel vision and then blindness occur. Glaucoma is one of the most common and preventable causes of blindness.

What are the symptoms?

In most cases, there are no symptoms during the early stages of the disease. As glaucoma progresses, it slowly damages the optic nerve fibers of the eye and the field of vision narrows. Often, ‘blind spots’ within the field of vision aren’t realized until optic nerve damage has occurred.

Who is most likely to develop glaucoma?

People who:

? are more than 45 years of age

? have a family history of glaucoma

? have abnormally high pressure in the eyes

? are of African descent

? have diabetes

? are nearsighted (have myopia)

? have a history of regular, long-term steroid or cortisone use

? have had a previous eye injury.

The Cayman Lions family encourages those persons who are at risk of developing glaucoma to have regular check-up.

FYI

For more information, contact the Program Development Department at Lions Clubs International Headquarters at: [email protected]

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