How Specsavers is tackling preventable glaucoma sight loss

More than 700,000 people in the UK have glaucoma – and about half of them don’t even know it. We’re on a mission to raise awareness and support our optometrists in developing their clinical skills to address the problem

A black man is being given an eye test by a blonde female optometrist

The key to ending avoidable sight loss due to glaucoma is through early detection and management. Because there is no general screening programme, cases need to be identified through routine eye tests. This is then followed by careful observation and treatment, which usually minimises any further damage to vision.

That’s why we’ve partnered up with Glaucoma UK to inform the public about this issue and encourage them to get their eyes checked regularly.

Our in-practice and domiciliary optometrists must also have the right clinical skills to recognise related pathology. So, we need to invest in upskilling them so they can detect signs of the disease. We do this by providing funding for the Professional Certificate and the Professional Higher Certificate in Glaucoma, which are accredited by the College of Optometrists.


Optometrist Bhavik Parmar has been qualified for 11 years and is currently part of our Clinical Performance team, where he supports other optometrists with their development. He recently completed the Professional Certificate in Glaucoma.

“I did it through Aston University. Most of the study is online and it takes three to six months to complete,” Bhavik said.

He added: “There are two practical days, one of which involves an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) based examination. The rest of the assessment is virtual, through case studies and multiple choice questions. I got to revisit skills I’d learnt at university, such as optic disc size assessment and Smith’s technique. These are things I hadn’t really thought much about since graduating, but are important for diagnosing glaucoma.

“The best thing about the course is the flexibility. Because the lectures are prerecorded, you can study around your job and personal commitments – whether that’s on the weekends or in the evenings. And most universities have two intakes a year.”

Bhavik continued: “I’ve done a lot of further qualifications, and this is my favourite one. It’s certainly made me think differently about glaucoma. It wasn’t my strongest topic when I was an undergraduate, partly because I didn’t fully appreciate its complexities. However, with greater awareness and more referrals, this disease is going to be an increasing part of daily practise for optometrists. So, it’s essential to understand how to recognise and manage it.

“When I’ve worked for other companies, I’ve had to pay for accredited courses myself, with some costing thousands of pounds. It’s great that Specsavers is providing funding for such a vital issue.”

He added: “It’s important to be a well-rounded optometrist, which is why I’ve continued with my studies and support others to do the same.”


At Specsavers, our goal is to change lives through better sight and hearing, and we need people just like you. If you’re interested in developing your clinical skills to help us end preventable glaucoma sight loss, get in touch to find out more or take a look at our latest opportunities.


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