Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world, affecting an estimated 60 million people across the globe, including 300,000 Australians – 50 per cent of whom are unaware they have the disease.
Glaucoma can affect anyone at any time; not even the rich and famous are immune to the disease, which can cause vision loss and blindness. Indeed, many well known celebrities suffer from the disease known as the ‘thief of sight’.
U2 singer Bono has revealed he’s been suffering from glaucoma for the last 20 years, indicating it’s the reason he wears sunglasses all the time.
Glaucoma makes eyes very sensitive to light and glare, so ophthalmologists recommend wearing sunglasses whenever you’re outside if you suffer from the disease. The Glaucoma Research Foundation recommends sunglasses that block 99 to 100 per cent of UV rays.
The View star has also revealed she suffers from the disease, citing she experiences bouts of headache pain caused by glaucoma. In addition to headaches, other symptoms of glaucoma can include eye pain, nausea, eye redness, blurred vision and increased eye pressure.
Known for his impressive operatic voice, Bocelli has had congenital glaucoma from a very young age. Congenital glaucoma (also known as childhood glaucoma) is rare; some infants are born with this form of the disease, which can be inherited, while other children develop it later on. Signs of congenital glaucoma include a cloudy-looking cornea, sensitivity to light, and excessive tearing.
If you have a family history of eyes problems, it’s important you have your eyes checked for glaucoma before the age of 35. Whilst for everyone else, it’s highly recommended that you have your eyes checked by the age of 40 and every two years thereafter.