Glaucoma - who is at risk and how serious is it?
Glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable blindness in the UK, mainly affecting people over the age of 40, people with diabetes, those who are very short sighted and people of African Caribbean or Asian origin.
Now family history is an important risk factor for glaucoma. First degree relatives of people with glaucoma are at least four times more likely to develop the disease compared to those without a family history. And yet researchers have found that more than a half of close relatives of people with glaucoma don't get themselves tested for the disease.
An optometrist or eye specialist working in the community, usually with a high street shop, will use three simple tests to check for any signs of glaucoma. If you have a close relative with glaucoma you are eligible for free NHS eye tests. If glaucoma is then diagnosed you should see your GP who will arrange for you to be referred to an ophthalmologist.