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Glaucoma Australia
May 2021

SYDNEY, 19 MAY 2021:  Glaucoma Australia has launched a new family-focused awareness campaign called 'Begins With You', to mobilise people diagnosed with glaucoma to ask their family, and friends over the age of 50 to get their eyes tested for glaucoma. 

Image of a family at the beach by the campfire. There's a father, mother, and 2 children. A text bubble above the father reads 'has glaucoma'. The text bubble on the mother reads 'doesn't know glaucoma is hereditary'. The text on the daughter reads '25% chance of developing glaucoma'.

Known as the 'sneak thief of sight', glaucoma can go undetected until the disease reaches an advanced stage if people are not getting their eyes tested regularly. Left untreated, it can cause irreversible vision loss and may even lead to blindness.

Recognising that people with glaucoma are the greatest advocates for early detection to prevent glaucoma blindness, this new campaign has been developed to make it easier for them to start a conversation and encourage their loved ones to get their eyes tested. They can do this by visiting glaucoma.org.au/begins-with-you and sending a ‘Gif of Sight’ to family and friends - because saving their sight begins with you.
 
The importance of family history in risk assessment for glaucoma has been well documented and is a key message promoted by Glaucoma Australia1. In many cases, glaucoma is an inherited disease that is passed on within families; people are 10x more likely to have it if they have a direct family member with it. In fact, first degree relatives, which include parents, siblings and children are at greater risk, having a 1 in 4 chance of developing glaucoma in their own lifetime. That risk doubles if their relative has advanced glaucoma. Glaucoma rates are also highest in African and Asian ancestry groups2.
 
CEO of Glaucoma Australia, Annie Gibbins says, “Over 300,000 Australians have glaucoma, yet 50% are unaware they have it. We want to see an Australia that is free of glaucoma blindness. We hope this new campaign empowers Australians with glaucoma to act and encourage their family and friends to look after their eye health and book an eye test.”
 
“Early assessment by an optometrist is critical to detect glaucoma and save sight. We recommend all Australians 50 years or older visit an optometrist every 2 years for a comprehensive eye exam. For anyone with a family history of glaucoma or of Asian or African descent, we recommend getting your eyes checked every 2 years from the age of 40," adds Ms Gibbins.

This new campaign will run throughout the year and be supported on Glaucoma Australia’s digital and social media platforms. Glaucoma Australia has also created a suite of digital and print campaign assets for health practitioners and people with glaucoma to download and share to help spread awareness and increase testing for glaucoma.    

To download these assets, visit: glaucoma.org.au/raise-awareness/begins-with-you

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For more information contact:
Annie Gibbins, CEO
Glaucoma Australia
1800 500 880

1 https://glaucoma.org.au/news-details/news/glaucoma-australia-tarrget-report-2020
2Gharahkhani, P., Jorgenson, E., Hysi, P. et al. Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies 127 open-angle glaucoma loci with consistent effect across ancestries. Nat Commun 12, 1258 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20851-4