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Glaucoma Awareness Week

Glaucoma Awareness Week takes place from 24 June – 30 June 2024.

Does glaucoma run in your family?

Glaucoma Awareness Week is an annual awareness-raising opportunity where we encourage people across the UK to talk about glaucoma. Over 700,000 people in the UK have glaucoma. Half of them don’t know they have it. We want to end preventable glaucoma sight loss and that starts with raising awareness of the disease.

This year, we’re focusing on the fact that glaucoma runs in families. There is at least a four-times higher risk of developing glaucoma if you have a close blood relative who has it. And even having a more distant relative with glaucoma can give you some increased risk. This means it’s even more important to have your eyes tested regularly.

If glaucoma is left undetected, it can slowly steal your sight. In fact, you could lose up to 40% of your vision without even knowing. So we want everyone to understand their own family eye health history, so we can all take appropriate measures to catch the disease early before severe sight loss sets in.

You might not even have to pay to visit your opticians for a check-up. In Scotland, eye tests are free for all and in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the NHS will pay for your eye test if you are aged 40 and over and have a close relative (sibling, parent or child) with glaucoma.

Know your own risk by asking your relatives about their eye health history.

Take part in our Glaucoma Awareness Week campaign

To help spread the message that glaucoma is hereditary, we want to hear from as many families who have a history of the disease as possible. We’re especially looking for those with a family member living with glaucoma too, whether it’s a parent, sibling, or child. Your story matters, and it can help raise awareness and inspire others.

These stories will showcase the importance of family support and awareness of the disease, and we will be highlighting them during our Glaucoma Awareness Week campaign.

If you would like to help, please compete the form below and we’ll be in touch.

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Help us start the conversation about glaucoma

If you’re living with glaucoma, we need your help to encourage your family and friends to attend sight tests every two years.

Glaucoma can be treated. The earlier it is detected, the more successful the treatment is likely to be in controlling it and preventing sight loss. Most people with early glaucoma have no symptoms. That’s why it is so important to ensure that your relatives have regular eye examinations. They might even be entitled to a free NHS-funded sight test.

Conversations about your glaucoma diagnosis can be daunting. But we’re here to support you every step of the way. Call our helpline team if you’ve got any questions or concerns.

If you’d prefer to get the conversation about glaucoma going in a more informal way, why not try some of these ideas out:

Share your story

If you’d like to help us increase awareness of glaucoma to the public by sharing your story for use on our digital channels, send us a message at marketing@glaucoma.uk

Glaucoma Awareness Week: what, when, who and why?

Glaucoma Awareness Week takes place in the last week of June each year.

What is Glaucoma Awareness Week and why does it matter?

Glaucoma Awareness Week is an annual awareness-raising opportunity where we encourage people across the UK to talk about glaucoma. Over 700,000 people in the UK have glaucoma. Half of them don’t know they have it. We want to end preventable glaucoma sight loss and that starts with raising awareness of the disease.

When is it?

Glaucoma Awareness Week takes place on 26 June – 2 July 2023.

Who coordinates it?

Glaucoma Awareness Week is coordinated by us, Glaucoma UK. But it wouldn’t be possible without the people who come forward to give a face to our campaign and give a voice to the different experiences of the growing number of people in the UK with glaucoma. You can meet some of the amazing people who have shared their stories with us on our Your stories page.

In 2023 we asked what glaucoma means to you

In 2023, our campaign revolved around the theme “My glaucoma…” and we invited everyone to complete that sentence in their own words, enabling individuals to share their unique experiences. We were thrilled by the number, diversity and creativity of the responses we received!

This community engagement was a huge reason we were able to reach so many people with our message. Campaign activities for the week included press releases to trade and consumer publications, a radio day covering 126 stations, a podcast featuring case studies, TV coverage, targeted social media adverts and more than 150 digital advertising billboards in major cities and towns across the UK. We also provided an interview to the radio series ‘Word on Health’, which is broadcast by a network of over 90 independent local radio stations across the UK.

A man laughing while holding a child in his arms

“Put your sight in the spotlight” was the theme in 2022

The number of people living with glaucoma in the UK is expected to increase by nearly a third between 2020 and 2035. In 2022, we used that stat to encourage the public to get their eyes tested.

Despite sight being the sense that people fear losing the most, almost a third of the adult population in the UK are not having an eye test every two years, as recommended. Glaucoma can be symptomless, so without having a routine check-up, you could have it and not know.

Frances smiling for a photograph in a park

We highlighted Frances’ story to spread awareness

Frances had no idea anything was wrong until she went to a routine eye test with her optician. They found ‘borderline pressure’ in her left eye and referred her to hospital, where she was diagnosed with open angle glaucoma.

“It all sounded so scary at first,” Frances says. “But I’ve since learned how lucky I was to be diagnosed early and to have access to Glaucoma UK’s support. The team have helped me to understand my diagnosis, prepare for treatment and find my own way to live well with glaucoma every day.”

Family and loved ones were the focus in 2021

It was a year like no other in 2021 and many people were unable to be with their family and loved ones. So, with the timing of Glaucoma Awareness Week falling just as the restrictions were being lifted across the UK, we wanted to celebrate the opportunity to come together while also sharing important information that could help save sight.

Firstly, we raised awareness of the family link with the disease. Did you know that someone has at least a four-times higher risk of developing glaucoma if they have a close blood relative who has it? So, we encouraged people with glaucoma to tell their relatives as they need to have their sight tested regularly. 

Secondly, we started a conversation about how we can support family members who are caring for someone with glaucoma. When someone you care about is diagnosed with glaucoma, our support services and information resources can help you understand the disease better.

Joan inherited glaucoma from her father, who went blind from the disease at the age of 80. She always knew that it was likely she would develop glaucoma because of her strong family history of the disease.

What we got up to for Glaucoma Awareness Week 2020

For Glaucoma Awareness Week 2020, our mission was for more people in the UK than ever before to know just how important it is to look after your eye health. We also wanted to let everyone know that if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with glaucoma, Glaucoma UK is here for you.

We asked our members and supporters to help us reach more people during Glaucoma Awareness Week.

We also launched our new brand identity and new website, designed to make it easier for you to find information and contains new resources to help you live well with glaucoma, as well as launching our redesigned range of helpful resources for people living with glaucoma, which can be ordered FREE through our website here.

2020 colouring competition

As part of our Glaucoma Awareness Week 2020 activities, we asked our younger supporters (aged 4 – 11), to colour in our logo design for a chance to have their artwork displayed on our social media and featured in our membership magazine.

The winner, chosen by Glaucoma UK’s graphic designer, was 8 year old Will.

You can read all about it, and see some of the other brilliant entries, in the Summer 2020 edition of our magazine.

The Glaucoma UK logo, coloured in
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