Glaucoma Broken Down

Our guide to Glaucoma and the importance of a routine eye test

Fluid build-up in the eye increases the pressure inside the eye, which can result in damage to the optic nerve, connecting the eye to the brain. Fluid build-up is typically caused by glaucoma, which can result in loss of vision if not diagnosed and treated early. Although it affects people of every age, it is more common in those aged 70 to 90.

Glaucoma can often take several years to develop with little to no symptoms to begin, slowly beginning to affect the peripheral vision first. This means that it is most commonly first noticed during routine eye tests. Although one eye may be worse than the other, glaucoma does usually impact both eyes and can occasionally develop suddenly causing:

  • Intense pain or tenderness in the eye
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Redness in the eye
  • Headaches
  • Rings of light or blurring of your vision

Without treatment glaucoma can lead to blindness, therefore it is really important to have a routine eye test at least every 2 years. Find out if you're eligible for free NHS eye tests. A routine eye test will involve some quick and painless tests, such as vision tests and eye pressure measurements to see if you have glaucoma. Although it is unclear what causes glaucoma, there are some things that can affect your risk such as: 

  • Your age as glaucoma becomes more common the older you get.
  • Your ethnicity as glaucoma is more prevalent in people of African, Caribbean or Asian origin.
  • Your family history is important as if any parent or sibling has the condition, you too are more likely to suffer.
  • Your medical history as glaucoma is more prevalent in those with vision impairments such as long or short-sightedness and diabetes.