10th March 2021

Glaucoma expected to rise by 33% in Ireland over the coming decade

Location: Cork

Mater Private Network Cork Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr Niamh Collins is urging patients not to cancel or delay appointments related to their eye health and to #TreatYourEyes this World Glaucoma week. 


Glaucoma is the name of a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. It’s usually caused by problems with the fluid drainage system in the front part of the eye, which often leads to increased pressure inside the eye.  Damage to this nerve can cause sight loss or even blindness if left untreated.


An estimated 4% of people over the age of 50 in Ireland already have Glaucoma, and it is increasing all the time with our ageing population.  


Glaucoma can have a significant impact on quality of life if left untreated, leading to an inability to drive, a reduction in physical activity, an increased likelihood of falls and social isolation. However, Glaucoma is treatable if caught early, and further deterioration in vision is preventable. The vast majority of glaucoma cases have no symptoms in early stages, hence the vital importance of regular eye checks to pick up glaucoma early and prevent avoidable sight loss. People above the age of 60 are most susceptible to the condition, as well as those with a family history of glaucoma.


Most people can be treated with eye drops when taken regularly. Laser treatment can also be very effective for patients. For other patients, an operation called trabeculectomy can vastly improve fluid drainage from the eye, alleviating their glaucoma.


If caught early, further deterioration in vision can be preventable. Glaucoma was once a disease that would almost always lead to blindness but huge advances in diagnosis, monitoring and treatment now mean that most people with glaucoma will keep useful sight for life. 


Commenting this World Glaucoma Week, Dr Niamh Collins, Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Mater Private Network Cork said:


“Early detection and intervention are the key to preserving patients’ vision. If people are concerned about their vision, I strongly encourage them to schedule an eye test without delay.


“Unfortunately, any sight already lost due to glaucoma can’t be regained. However, with effective medical treatments readily available, we now have more treatment options than ever before.


“I would encourage the Irish public to take charge of their eye health this World Glaucoma Week and schedule an eye test if they have any concerns about their vision or are over the age of 60.”