Workplace eye care can save sight

GlaucomaGlaucoma Awareness Week 17 to 23 June

This Glaucoma Awareness Week Specsavers Corporate Eyecare is encouraging employers to provide regular eye tests for employees, to help with the early detection of the potentially life-changing condition. Glaucoma Awareness Week runs from 17 to 23 June 2019.

Statistics: many are undiagnosed

  • Glaucoma is the 2nd leading cause of irreversible slight loss in the UK (after age-related macular degeneration1)
  • 67% percent of glaucoma remains undiagnosed; previously undetected cases are largely identified at routine sight tests by community optometrists2
  • 300,000 people in the UK are unaware that they are slowly losing their sight3

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions where damage has occurred to the optic nerve. This nerve carries information from the eye to the brain about what is being seen. If the optic nerve is damaged, vision is lost. This can result in misty or patchy vision and, in rarer cases, eventual complete loss of central vision.

Early detection essential

Once vision is lost due to glaucoma, it cannot be recovered. Early diagnosis and regular treatments can, however, help to maintain useful sight for the vast majority of people.

Glaucoma is usually painless and does not present any symptoms until it is well advanced. There is only one way to detect and monitor glaucoma – through an eye test with an optometrist. It is important, therefore, to have regular eye health checks to test for glaucoma.

Eye tests for glaucoma include:

  • Checking the appearance of the optic nerve
  • Measuring the pressure in the eye
  • Checking the field of vision

These are quick, simple and painless tests carried out by an optometrist as part of a basic eye examination.

Workplace eye care

Any eye test should include a full examination of the health of the eye, which will assist in the detection of glaucoma, cataract, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and more. Employers may provide eye care as a pure employee benefit, but an examination of eye health will also take place during any eye test, including to meet with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regulations and for driver eye care.

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: ‘Employers who provide DSE eye care, prescription safety eyewear or driver eye care are probably already providing the appropriate eye care to check for glaucoma. In this case, it is really a matter of communicating the full benefits of the provision, to ensure employees are aware of the much wider benefits of their eye care. In this way, not only do employees benefit from the level of care provided, but the employer benefits from the boost in morale and staff loyalty. For those companies not already providing eye care, implementing a policy should be considered as a matter of priority.’

For further information on workplace eye care and its positive impact visit

  1. Bunce C, Wormald R. (2006). Leading causes of certification for blindness and partial sight in England and Wales. BMC Public Health, 6: (58)
  2. Royal Collage of Ophthalmologists Commissioning Report 2007
  3. International Glaucoma Association