Glaucoma Awareness Week: ‘Check your eyes,’ urges St Thomas’ patient who nearly went blind

Josh Salisbury (12 March, 2020)

The condition runs in families and is a leading cause of sight loss

35376Demola Oduyemi and Saurabh Goyal

A man with aggressive glaucoma whose dad and grandad went blind from the condition is urging others to check their eyes.

Demola Oduyemi was diagnosed aged 26, but has managed to keep his sight after years of treatment at St Thomas’ Hospital.

For Glaucoma Awareness Week this week, Demola is urging others to be aware of the “silent sight-taker.”

Glaucoma, which usually happens because fluid in the eye cannot drain properly, is the leading cause of sight loss in the world.

“My glaucoma is very aggressive – if I had not been diagnosed as early as I was, I would have lost my sight without question,” said Demola, who works in customer services.

“My sight is fine now, and although the road has been bumpy, I can still carry out everyday tasks without hindrance.”

People from Afro-Caribbean are more predisposed to the conditions, according to Saurabh Goyal, a consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

“Glaucoma can occur 10 years earlier in this group of patients compared with the general population,” he said.

“So we often see people in their 20s and 30s with glaucoma who may not be aware that they can be affected by the condition.”

Anyone who has a family history of the condition should be tested every one or two years, he advised.

People can be entitled to free testing for glaucoma with standard sight tests by optometrists if you are over 40 and have a family history of glaucoma.

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