A Barnet optician who is facing blindness in as little as five years is highlighting the importance of regular eye tests in the fight against glaucoma.

Mother-of-two, Pragna Raghwani, director of Specsavers in Barnet, is sharing her story in a bid to encourage people to recognise the importance of identifying the condition early.

Pragna's story

Pragna was diagnosed with the condition, which is the second largest cause of blindness among adults in the UK, after she began experiencing symptoms and sought further investigation. Although her condition was resistant to treatment, in the vast majority of cases, a suffer’s remaining sight can be saved if the condition is detected in time.

Pragna said: ‘I remember it began one Saturday afternoon with colour fringes appearing in my vision. For me, the onset of the condition was rapid, and by the time I was diagnosed I had lost 30 per cent of my vision.

‘I’m coming to terms with the fact that I will lose my sight, but the majority of cases of glaucoma can be treated when detected early enough.’

More about glaucoma

There are four main types of glaucoma, with the most common being chronic open-angle glaucoma – which affects around 480,000 people in the UK. It is a condition which develops slowly and detecting it early can literally save sight, with over 90% of individuals diagnosed early retaining a reasonable level of sight for life. 

Pragna added: ‘Glaucoma can exist with no noticeable symptoms and more than half of cases in the UK are thought to be undetected. That is why it is so important to be vigilant and make time for regular screening. A simple eye test could make all the difference.’

Anyone over the age of 40 with a first degree relative who suffers from glaucoma is entitled to an NHS eye examination in-store as their chance of developing the condition is increased. People of African-Caribbean origin are also four times more likely to develop the condition than those of European origin so it is important that they are aware of this risk and attend regular eye examinations.

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