Know the risks and save your sight

To mark World Glaucoma Day (6 March) the Trust is launching a simple questionnaire designed to help people assess their own risk of developing glaucoma* - a sight-threatening condition that affects more than half a million people across the UK.

The Trust estimates that another 250,000 Brits could be suffering from the condition without even realising as open angle (or chronic) glaucoma, the most common form of the condition, rarely has any visible symptoms until it reaches an advanced state.

Iain Anderson, Chairman of the Eyecare Trust says: "It's vital that people at risk of glaucoma have regular eye examinations to prevent avoidable sight loss. Glaucoma can be diagnosed during a routine examination and easily managed using eye drops or in certain cases laser treatment, however, if left untreated the condition can lead to severe vision impairment and even blindness."

The questionnaire**, which is available as a free download from the charity's website, uses a weighted scoring system on a variety of genetic (family medical history) and demographic (age) factors to determine an individuals overall risk of suffering from the condition.

Everyone should have a routine eye examination once every two years and those who are most at risk of glaucoma (people aged 40+ with a family history of the condition or with ocular hypertension) are entitled to an annual eye examination paid for by the NHS.

*Glaucoma is a name given to group of eye conditions which affect the optic nerve and disturbs your peripheral vision. A fact sheet about the condition is available from the Trust's website

**Glaucoma questionnaire

To help assess your risk of suffering from glaucoma answer the following questions and then add your scores together.

1. How old are you?

Less than 50 years [0] 50 - 64 years [1] 65 -75 years [2] Greater than 75 years [3]

2. Which of the following best describes your ethnic origin?

Caucasian / other [0] Asian [1/2] African [2]

3. Do you have a family history of glaucoma?

No family history of glaucoma [0] Family history but not first degree relatives [0] Parent has history of glaucoma [1] Brother or sister has glaucoma [2]

4. When did you last have an eye examination?

Within the past two years [0]
2 - 5 years ago [1]
More than 5 years ago [2]

4 or more - you have a high risk of open angle glaucoma
3 - you have a moderate risk of open angle glaucoma
2 or less - you have a low risk of suffering from open angle glaucoma

Other factors such as high myopia (short-sight) or hyperopia (long-sight); systemic hypertension, steroids and diabetes can also increase your risk of glaucoma although they are not strong enough to be weighted on the above table.

This questionnaire is based on an analysis of the risk factors of glaucoma conducted as part of Glaucoma2001.

Click here to download the Glaucoma Questionnaire as a pdf.

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