2 April 2017
"All too often we hear that people do not have an eye health check until they realise that something is wrong with their vision. This is too late for glaucoma as a significant amount of vision will be lost, and it can never be recovered”
Karen Osborn, Chief Executive of the International Glaucoma Association.
In the build up to National Glaucoma Awareness Week (12 - 18 June 2017), SPECS network opticians are encouraging everyone to get an eye examination if they haven't had one in the last two years, if they are worried about their sight, or if they have any of the risk factors for glaucoma.
What exactly is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions. The main nerve in the eye (the optic nerve) becomes damaged, usually as a result of increased pressure in the eye. This can lead to misty and patchy vision which worsens if left untreated. It can eventually lead to blindness although this is rare, especially if detected early.
Why are eye health checks important?
The only way to know if your eyes are healthy and your vision is accurate is to have your eyes checked by an optician (optometrist).
Glaucoma has no obvious symptoms in the early stages, but advanced glaucoma can lead to serious and permanent loss of sight.
With early diagnosis, careful monitoring and regular use of treatments, the vast majority of patients will retain useful sight for life.
Who is at greatest risk?
If any of these glaucoma risk factors apply to you, it is especially important to get an eye examinaation:
- Anyone over the age of 40
- Anyone with a history of glaucoma in the family
- People with diabetes
- People who are very short-sighted
- People of African-Caribbean or Asian origin
- People who are long-sighted
FREE NHS funded tests if you are:
- Over the age of 60
- Under 16 or under 19 in full-time education
- Living in Scotland
- Receiving income support, certain beneﬁts including pension credit (more information at www.nhs.uk)
- Diabetic or have glaucoma
- Over 40 and have a close relative with glaucoma
- Advised by an ophthalmologist that you are at risk of glaucoma
- Registered as visually impaired
- Receiving vouchers for complex lenses
- A prisoner or on leave from prison
There is more information about glaucoma - including videos and contact details for organisations offering help - on our 'Don't turn a blind eye to glaucoma' page .
Find out more about glaucoma and win an iPad!
To help spread the message about glaucoma and the importance of eye tests, we're running a free draw with a brilliant iPad to the lucky winner.
To enter, all you have to do is answer a simple question about glaucoma - you will easily find the answer by watching our short film about the condition.
This competition closes at midnight on Friday 30th June 2017.