Don't let the silent thief steal your eyesight

Glaucoma is the leading cause of sight-loss in the UK, affecting 1 in 50 people over 40. Sometimes called the "silent thief of sight" due to its gradual onset, it causes damage to the optic nerve, but often begins with no symptoms at all. And men are at greater risk of losing their sight that women, simply because they are more likely to ignore warning signs and once sight is lost, it cannot be recovered.

Luckily, glaucoma is a problem which can be picked up at a routine eye test. It's important to have regular eye tests so problems such as glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Early treatment can help stop your vision becoming severely affected.

"You should have a routine eye test at least every year'" advises Melanie Chak, Consultant Opthalmic Surgeon here at Shalbourne, "If you're at a higher risk of glaucoma - for example, if you have a close relative with it - you may be advised to have more frequent tests."

If glaucoma is picked up during an eye test, you should be referred to a specialist eye doctor (opthamologist) for further tests. For less serious types of glaucoma, you may be referred back to the opticians. However, in some cases, you will need to be treated by a specialist opthamologist.

There are several different treatments for glaucoma, including eye drops, laser treatment and surgery. The best treatment for you will depend on your circumstances. While treatment can't reverse any loss of vision that has already occurred, it can help stop your vision getting any worse.