Driving home the dangers of glaucoma
04 April 2013
The risks of driving with a common eye condition will be spelled
out by a specialist doctor from Southend University Hospital at a
patients' meeting next week.
People with glaucoma who take the wheel risk not only having an
accident but could face a hefty fine if they have failed to notify
the authorities of their condition.
Consultant ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist, Mr Saab
Bhermi, will be spelling out the regulations when he addresses
members of the local Glaucoma Support Group at its seminar on
Thursday, April 11.
Glaucoma is caused by a build-up of high pressure which damages
a nerve at the back of the eye. It initially causes lack of
peripheral vision - vital for road safety - but if left untreated
can progress and eventually cause total blindness.
The condition affects approximately one in 50 people over the
age of 40, rising to one in 10 over the age of 80. Southend
University Hospital's eye department currently sees more than
20,000 patients with glaucoma every year.
Mr Bhermi said: "It is very important to catch the condition
early to prevent it getting any worse. Treatments range from eye
drops to laser and surgery."
Although most patients with glaucoma in only one eye have no
requirement to inform the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency
(DVLA) provided their other eye is healthy and they meet the visual
standards for driving, those with both eyes affected must inform
the agency or risk a fine up to £1,000.
Mr Bhermi said: "We know this is a topic which concerns many of
our patients so the seminar seemed the ideal opportunity to discuss
it in detail."
Patients and their families will also hear a talk on glaucoma
eye drops from a member of the International Glaucoma
Everyone is welcome to attend the event which takes place from
4.30pm to 6.45pm at Southend Central Library on Thursday, April