2 September 2013 Return to news listings
We have launched a new glaucoma-awareness campaign, aimed at people of African Caribbean descent living in the UK.
People in the African Caribbean community are up to six times more likely to develop glaucoma and it can develop approximately 10 years earlier than in other ethnic groups in the UK.
However, according our research, published in Britain’s Eye Health in Focus, over a third (36%) of people of African Caribbean descent living in the UK are unaware that they are at risk of developing the disease. This has prompted us to launch the Eye Matter campaign.
College members will be visiting community groups in Croydon, Birmingham and Manchester to advise on the condition and the importance of regular check-ups and early detection in reducing the risk of avoidable sight loss. We will also be promoting the campaign through national, local and African Caribbean media.
Dr Susan Blakeney, our Clinical Adviser, said: “Glaucoma is often without symptoms until significant vision has been lost. However, early detection increases the chances of effective treatment, which is why it is so important to go for regular check ups. It’s such a simple message and one we want more people in at-risk groups to hear, which is why we have launched the campaign and are meeting with people from the African Caribbean community.”
Janet Corlis, CEO of the Afro-Caribbean Millennium Centre, said: “We’re really pleased that the College of Optometrists is launching a campaign to raise awareness of glaucoma. At the moment, too many members of our community know little about the condition and as a result often don’t seek treatment early enough. We look forward to working with the College over the next few weeks to make sure as many members of our community as possible know all the facts about the condition and the importance of looking after their eye health.”
To support any members who would like to get involved, we have developed an Eye Matter campaign toolkit, which provides a briefing note, media release template and tips on working with the media.