Employees benefit from Specsavers upskilling awareness in glaucoma - the silent thief of sight

Sight testAll Specsavers teams are being upskilled to better support patients with glaucoma – the leading cause of irreversible sight loss.

Often symptomless in its early stages, glaucoma is thought to affect 700,000 people in the UK today, but as many as 50% of cases are undiagnosed.*

In conjunction with the International Glaucoma Association, the opticians has developed training for its retail teams to assist sufferers with their treatment. Specifically, they will be advising on how to effectively administer eye drops, which are crucial for managing the condition.

The aim is for each store to have at least one person on the shop floor that has completed the course by World Glaucoma Week (11-18th March). This new training complements the skills held by Specsavers’ optometrists, who have collectively completed almost 5,000 postgraduate glaucoma accreditations since 2017, through a variety of accrediting bodies including Cardiff University and the College of Optometrists.

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: ‘Glaucoma is a serious threat to employees’ eyesight and employers are now in a position to help. Simply by offering basic eye care, they can help to ensure that conditions such as glaucoma are detected and treated early, which will be beneficial for the business and could be life-changing for the individual.’

Alan Murphy was just 37 when a trip to Specsavers in Connswater, Belfast, found the early stages of glaucoma.  Thanks to early detection, his condition is now managed by using eye drops daily.

Alan, now an advocate of regular eye tests and good eye health, believes early diagnosis and careful management has saved his sight and says: ‘I would strongly urge people to go for regular eye tests, and to make the most of the advice and support provided by their local optician.”

Karen Osborn, chief executive of IGA, says: ‘The majority of people who are diagnosed early with glaucoma will retain useful sight for life. Most will be treated with medical eye drops. Unfortunately we know from calls to our helpline that many people aren’t told about how to put the drop in the eye correctly, or aren’t advised about the aids that are available to help them.  We are delighted to work with Specsavers on this often over-looked aspect of glaucoma management.’

For more information on eyecare in the workplace and the benefits of eVouchers, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate.

* Source: RNIB and Specsavers State of the Nation Report - Eye Health September 2017.