Ignorance may be bliss, but it could leave you blind!

A quarter of a million Brits are at risk of going blind because they are living with undiagnosed glaucoma* – a sight threatening eye disease that is often symptom-less until vision has been irrecoverably lost.

Glaucoma slowly erodes your peripheral vision before attacking your central detailed vision. This gradual deterioration means you can lose as much as 40 per cent of your vision before you even realise something is wrong!

At the outset you won’t notice a change in your ability to see as your eyes can work together to trick your brain into thinking you can see clearly when, in fact, your vision is slowly but surely declining.

Even though you might not see a change in your vision a routine eye examination can!

Damage caused by glaucoma cannot be recovered – worrying news for all drivers who by law must have visual fields of 120°+. Motorists who unwittingly drive around with the condition are also five-times more likely to be involved in a serious road traffic accident**.

While anyone can develop glaucoma, some groups are at increased risk. High-risk groups include: people aged 40+; those with a family history of glaucoma; diabetics and people of African-Caribbean origin.

Take our simple test to discover if you are at increased risk of developing the condition.

Early detection of the condition through routine sight testing is vital for the successful treatment of glaucoma which, when caught early, can often be easily managed and arrested using eye drops or in certain cases laser treatment. Unfortunately all too often glaucoma sufferers visit their optician when the condition is advanced and it’s too late to save loss of vision.

Everyone should have a routine eye examination once every two years and those who are most at risk of glaucoma (for example people aged 40+ with a family history of the condition or with ocular hypertension) are entitled to annual eye examinations paid for by the NHS.

For more information about diagnosing and treating glaucoma please download a copy of the Trust's glaucoma fact sheet by clicking here.

foot notes

* Glaucoma is a name given to group of eye conditions that affect the optic nerve and disturb peripheral vision.
** Roadmap to driving wellness, American Society on Aging, 2006.

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