Shockingly, only 19% of all under-60s surveyed by Specsavers in Coalville are aware of what glaucoma actually is.
Jayna Patel, an optometry student at Angela Ruskin University, organised the survey during National Glaucoma Awareness Week in June, with the aim of highlighting the level of awareness of the condition and its potential severity.
Of the 340 people who took part in the survey:
• Only 43% know what glaucoma is
• Fewer than one fifth of respondents under the age of 60 know what glaucoma is
• Only 27% know that it is a sight threatening condition
Commenting on the results, store director Shailan Ruparelia commented: ‘What is especially worrying is that the most common form of glaucoma is slow and progressive and can go unnoticed by the sufferer for many years. It eventually causes misty, patchy and blurred vision.
‘The earlier it is caught and treated, the better the prognosis, hence the concern by eyesight professionals over the apparent lack of awareness. This research from Jayna has highlighted that more needs to be done to get the message about eye health out to the public.’
Of those who said they knew what glaucoma is, 80% were over the age of 60. This shows that just over 4 out of 5 people under-60 don’t know anything about this condition, including the vitally important early warning signs. Glaucoma is the most common cause of preventable sight loss in the UK, therefore these figures are extremely worrying, particularly in the younger generation.
Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve, becomes damaged, usually as a result of increased pressure in the eye. This nerve transmits information from the eye to the brain, so when it is damaged, some vision loss occurs.
Optometrists can detect signs of glaucoma by carrying out a series of simple tests. If you have any concerns or questions about the condition, visit your local Specsavers store.