Could you be at risk?

older woman at home 

You are at risk of developing glaucoma:

  • as you get older – it is uncommon below the age of 40 but rises to around 5 in 100 people over the age of 65. 
  • if you have a close relative with glaucoma;
  • if you are of African or African-Caribbean origin - your risk is four times that of people of European origin and you are at risk of developing it at an earlier age;
  • if you are very short sighted;
  • if you have diabetes.

Free NHS eye checks for those at high risk

The NHS recognises that early detection is the key to preventing sight loss due to glaucoma and so you are entitled to a regular free NHS eye check if you are:

  • over 40 and the parent, brother, sister, daughter or son of someone diagnosed with glaucoma;
  • you are considered by an ophthalmologist (doctor who specialises in eye disease) to be at risk of glaucoma.

Regular eye checks are particularly important:

  • at any age if you are of African or African-Caribbean origin, as this means  glaucoma is detected as early as possible;
  • once you know a close relative has glaucoma. Be sure to alert your optician, so he is aware of your increased risk.

However it makes sense for everyone to have regular eye checks. This way any problem with your vision or your eyes can be picked up early and treated.  You should have an eye check every 2 years if you are under 70 years old and every 12 months if you are over 70. Anyone aged 60 or over is entitled to a free NHS eye check.

Make sure your eye check includes the three tests described below.

Your Age UK

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Age UK Advice:
0800 678 1174

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