Chef Rosemary Shrager talks about her own eye health

Rosemary Shrager admits she is terrified about going blind after revealing glaucoma runs in her family. 

TV chef Rosemary Shrager has revealed she is ‘extremely worried’ about losing her sight after several close family members went blind due to glaucoma. She is now working with Specsavers to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye tests this National Eye Health Week (September 23-29). 

Glaucoma affects more than 700,000 people across the UK and 64 million people around the world

Rosemary, 68, knows the risks of sight loss associated with glaucoma more than most and gets regular checks after some of her relatives lost their sight as a result of the condition, a prospect she says is terrifying.  

 She says: ‘There is a history of glaucoma in my family. My father, sister, grandmother and two aunties all had it, and as it is often hereditary it is a terrifying thought that I could get it too. 

Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers clinical spokesperson provides this advice to: ‘There are several factors which can increase people’s risk of developing glaucoma. As in Rosemary’s case, a family history of the disease increases the chances, but other risk factors include those who have black-African or Asian heritage as well as those who have higher levels of short sightedness. Of course, age also needs to be considered as two in every 100 people over the age of 40 are affected with the condition. 

 ‘The good news is glaucoma can generally be treated effectively if detected early, and in most cases, daily eye drops are used.’ 

During her eye check, Rosemary’s optometrist noticed that her optic nerve is thinning in one corner. While she does not yet have glaucoma, it does need to be closely monitored at her local Specsavers store in Tunbridge Wells

Karen Osborn Chief Executive of the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) says: ‘We regularly hear from people who have permanently lost sight to glaucoma because of late diagnosis. People are often angry and upset to learn that simple regular visits to their local high street optometrist could have detected the condition. The earlier treatment starts, the more likely that someone will retain useful sight for life.’ 

Rosemary adds: ‘As a chef my work is my sight – I couldn’t do what I do without it. Cooking is my livelihood so it is so important that I do all I can to look after myself to ensure I can carry on. 

 ‘I urge everyone to make getting their eyes tested a priority. Some people think they don’t have to go to the opticians as they think their sight is fine, but they check for so much more than just your vision. It is the most important thing.’ 

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