A Lichfield expert says early detection is key when it comes to managing the impact of glaucoma.

The condition is one of the leading causes of sight loss across the country, but due to the gradual onset people often do not realise they have it.

Figures released to mark World Glaucoma Week – which runs from today (6th March) – reveal that more than 700,000 people are believed to have the condition in the UK.

Praful Patel, from Specsavers Lichfield, said:

‘The number of people living with glaucoma in the UK will increase by around 18% in the next 10 years.

“Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. It’s usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases the pressure inside.  

“While it cannot be cured, it can be prevented from worsening through regular monitoring and treatment – but early detection is key.”

Praful Patel, Specsavers

Research from Specsavers revealed that the Covid pandemic saw the number of people referred to hospital for suspected glaucoma dropped by 43,000, while NHS appointments for the condition also dropped by more than 11,000.

Joanna Bradley, Head of Support Services at Glaucoma UK, said:

“As glaucoma can often be symptomless, it’s crucial that people have regular eye tests so that it can be detected early and successfully managed.

“The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed, the higher the chances are of retaining useful sight. 

“Being diagnosed with glaucoma can be frightening, but as a charity we are here to support those with the disease to live well, and to offer help and advice.’”

Joanna Bradley, Glaucoma UK