If you are living with glaucoma, it’s natural to feel anxious about how to manage the disease and what the future will hold. But with the right treatment and daily maintenance, sight loss is preventable. Glaucoma is a very common disease, and many people who have it are able to live a full and active life.
Over the past 40 years, we’ve supported people living with glaucoma. Although everyone’s experience will be different, we’ve helped to grow a supportive community, meaning you’re never alone.
Below you’ll find a brief guide of what to expect at every stage of your journey with glaucoma, from diagnosis to daily management, as well as how to access online support.
Find out everything you need to know to manage your glaucoma from home, and how to access online support anytime, anywhere.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell without the help of a professional. The symptoms of glaucoma can often come on gradually, and your brain can fill in the gaps of changed vision. Most people experience no symptoms in the early stages of glaucoma and the only way to know if you have it is by having your eyes tested.
The easiest way to check if you have glaucoma is to make an appointment with your optician. They’ll do the initial tests to determine if you need to see a specialist. With opticians located on most high streets, this is a really convenient way to ensure the ongoing health of your eyes. Many people are even eligible for free eye tests.
Finding out that you have glaucoma can be a stressful experience. But although there isn’t a cure, most people will be able to prevent any further sight loss through simple, non-invasive treatment.
It’s important to listen to your healthcare professionals. If possible, bring a friend or family member to your appointments; two sets of ears are better than one, and will help to make sure you don’t forget any key information.
Use the time to ask any questions you have and make a note of these before you arrive at your appointment. Remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question. Taking the time to gain clarity will make your daily treatment much easier once you get home.
Likewise, be mindful of advice from untrustworthy sources. Many websites offer treatments and medicines that claim to treat or even cure glaucoma, but which provide no health benefit and can sometimes be harmful. If you’re ever in doubt, our helpline is here to help.
Alternatively, we have a range of information leaflets that can be downloaded or ordered for free on our website, thanks to the generosity of our supporters. They cover a range of topics, from eye clinic referral to dry eye disease.
We recommend ordering our free Personal Monitoring Records, which will help you take notes at your appointments, and keep a record of any changes to your condition that your healthcare professional may need to know about.
If you’re looking for friendly advice from a community that’s going through similar experience to you, we have several free options available to you. Click below to find out more about each:
If you have a question about your own glaucoma or a loved one’s, our team are on hand to answer them. Contact our helpline team for more information.
Whether you’re living with glaucoma or just interested in find out more, we’re here to help. Not only does learning about glaucoma help you to be more mindful about you own experiences with the disease, but will also allow you to be more mindful of how to support others. Here are some of the ways you can learn more:
Glaucoma Support Group: Glaucoma Surgery
This support group was held on Wednesday 13 January. We were joined by Mr David Lunt, Consultant Ophthalmologist at South Tees Hospitals, who spoke about the different types of glaucoma surgery.
Glaucoma Support Group: How to get the most out of your appointment
This support group was held on Wednesday 16 December 2020. Our speaker was Mr Mike Smith, Glaucoma Specialist from the Royal and Exeter Foundation Trust, who talked about communication in the glaucoma clinic.
Glaucoma Support Group: Dry eye disease
This support group was held on Wednesday 4 November 2020. We were joined by Mr David Lunt, Consultant Ophthalmologist at South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who spoke about Dry Eye Disease.
Glaucoma Support Group: Glaucoma eye tests – How they work and what they tell us
This support group was held on Tuesday 17 November 2020. Our speaker was Lisa Cowan, Hospital Optometrist and Senior Specialist Glaucoma Lead for NHS Education Scotland, who talked about glaucoma eye tests.
Glaucoma Support Group: How COVID-19 is changing eye care
The glaucoma journey and how COVID-19 is changing eye care, was held on the 29th of July Mr Nick Strouthidis, consultant ophthalmologist and director of medical services at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
Glaucoma Support Group: Glaucoma for the newly diagnosed
This support group, Glaucoma for the Newly Diagnosed, was held on the 16th of July, with Dr Hari Jayaram from Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. You can watch it below.
Glaucoma Support Group: Glaucoma and eye drops
This support group was held on the 22 July 2020 with Dr Laura Crawley who spoke and answered questions from those who had signed up to attend.
Glaucoma Support Group: Driving and glaucoma
This support group, Driving and glaucoma, was held on the 04 August 2020 with Jonathan Clarke of Moorfields Eye Hospital, member of DVLA driver’s medical panel for vision.
Glaucoma Support Group: My Glaucoma is Getting Worse – What Might Happen?
Our support group ‘My Glaucoma is Getting Worse – What Might Happen?’ , was held on Tuesday 11 August 2020 with Mr Pankaj Agarwal of Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, Edinburgh.
Everyone will have different treatments prescribed to suit their different glaucoma needs, but most people will be prescribed with eye drops. Eye drops are only effective with regular use. Here are a few practical tips to help you manage your glaucoma eye drop routine at home.
Our eyes are sensitive at the best of times, and it’s particularly important to be gentle with them if you have glaucoma.
Wherever possible, avoid touching your eyes with your hands. If you need to remove excess liquid after applying your eye drops, use clean cotton wool. It’s handy to have some with you before you start putting in your drops, just in case.
If you do have to touch your eyes or the area around them, ensure you wash your hands thoroughly beforehand. Take a look at the NHS site for the most effective ways to clean your hands.
There’s more than one way to put eye drops in and what works well for you may not work well for everyone. Whether you stand at a mirror or lie down on a bed, we’ve created a guide to show you a few of the most popular techniques for getting the eye drop in your eye.
Compliance aids can help to make the eye-drop bottle more stable over the eye, supporting you to hold the bottle at a safe distance that will not result in the nozzle scratching the cornea, and making the bottle easier to squeeze.
There are many different types of product you can buy to help make it easier to use your eye drops. Not all devices fit every bottle shape. Please call our helpline for advice if you’re not sure if the compliance aid you are ordering will fit your eye drops bottle.
Watch our simple guide on how to safely and hygienically apply your eye drops.
Order one of our free Personal Monitoring Records to help you keep track of when you’re taking your eye drops, as well as any changes to your vision. Not only will this handy little diary help with everyday eye care, but it will also make it easier for your healthcare professional to monitor your glaucoma.
Find out more about how to safely and effectively put in eye drops.
As we’ve seen, there’s plenty you can do at home to care for your eyes, but sometimes the best solution is to speak to a professional.
If you experience any significant changes in your vision or have any other concerns, it’s better to speak up to avoid any risk of preventable sight loss. Don’t be afraid to reach out and push for an appointment, your eyesight is worth the effort.
Make sure you’re in the appointment system, and that you know when your next check-up is. If you’re having trouble making an appointment, or if you’re in any doubt of what to do next, our helpline is always available to assist you.
As part of World Glaucoma Week 2021 (7 to 13 March), we spotlighted the different support channels we offer to patients and health care professionals. From the top of a hill or a trek through the woods to a supermarket aisle or the comfort of a sofa, support for those living with glaucoma is accessible whenever and wherever you may need it.