How common is glaucoma?

Glaucoma of some type is found in about two per cent of the population over the age of 40. It can also affect children and young adults, although much less frequently.

It is estimated that more than 600,000 people suffer from glaucoma in the UK, with more than 75 million people affected across the world.

The vast majority of those with glaucoma have a chronic (slow developing) form of the condition, primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), and studies have demonstrated that half of all cases remain undiagnosed. In other words, 300,000 people in the UK are unaware that they are slowly losing their sight.

The treatment of glaucoma has developed considerably over recent years and new, more potent drugs with fewer side effects than earlier medications are now available.

Surgical techniques have also improved and it is estimated that the vast majority of people diagnosed early with glaucoma will retain useful sight for life.