With the return of World Glaucoma Week this month (11-18 March), Specsavers has teamed up with the International Glaucoma Association to raise awareness about the condition.
Glaucoma is thought to affect around 700,000 people living in the UK yet half of all cases are going undiagnosed.
To help shed some light on the issue, Specsavers Walton-on-Thames ophthalmic director Mital Patel answers some of the most frequently asked questions about glaucoma.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition that comes in several different forms. Chronic glaucoma is the most common type and develops slowly over time, and leads to damage of the optic nerve, while acute glaucoma is less common and can lead to pain and a build-up of pressure behind the eyes.
Who is affected by it?
Glaucoma can affect anyone and there are various factors that raise the risk of someone getting it. It often develops in older adults and you are also more likely to develop glaucoma if you have another family member suffering with the condition.
How can I tell if I have glaucoma and how is it treated?
Unfortunately, glaucoma has no symptoms and, as mentioned, develops slowly over time, so it can go undetected for quite some time. People with the condition often experience blurry vision or see a rainbow effect when looking at bright lights.
Sight loss caused by glaucoma cannot be treated but having regular eye tests can help detect it from an early stage, and surgery or eye drops can minimise or prevent further damage to your eyes.