Glaucoma Awareness UK highlights the importance of regular eye examinations

Glaucoma UK is raising awareness of the role of sight tests in preventing sight loss, as the rate of glaucoma in the UK is set to increase by nearly a third by 2035

Frances Baillie
Glaucoma UK

Glaucoma UK is urging the public to ensure they attend regular eye examinations, as the number of people living with glaucoma in the UK is expected to increase by almost a third between 2020 and 2035.

The charity is highlighting the importance of regular sight tests for preventing sight loss as part of Glaucoma Awareness Week (27 June to 3 July), and has encouraged eye care professionals to get involved in spreading the message.

More than 700,000 people in the UK have glaucoma, but half don’t know they have it, the charity suggested.

Despite this, research has indicated that nearly a third of the adult population in the UK are not having an eye test every two years.

Joanne Creighton, chief executive of Glaucoma UK, commented: “This Glaucoma Awareness Week, we want people to put their sight in the spotlight by encouraging them to get their eyes regularly tested.”

She continued: “With an ageing population and modern technology making earlier detection possible, more and more of us will find ourselves affected by glaucoma. For those diagnosed with the disease, Glaucoma UK is here to offer support.”

The risk of developing the disease rises over the age of 40, and continues to increase with age, with one in 10 people aged 75 or older affected by glaucoma.

People of African-Caribbean origin are also four times more likely to develop the disease than people of European origin.

The charity highlighted that glaucoma can be symptomless. Dr Susan Blakeney, optometrist and Glaucoma UK trustee, said: “Glaucoma normally causes gradual sight loss, which you won’t notice in the early stages. This sight loss cannot be reversed.”

“It is therefore important for most people to get their eyes examined at least every two years, even if they are not having any problems with their sight, to detect signs of glaucoma early and reduce the chance of further sight loss,’ Blakeney said.

The charity is encouraging eye care professionals to get involved in the awareness week by ordering information booklets and displaying campaign posters to spread the word.

Campaign resources are available on the Glaucoma UK website and practices can join the social media conversation using the hashtag #GlaucomaAwarenessWeek.