Information for the public

Glaucoma: the care you should expect

Glaucoma is a condition that affects eyesight, most often in people in their 70s or older. It tends to get worse slowly over several years. It is often caused by high pressure in the eye, and can be picked up during routine eye tests. Because glaucoma can cause permanent sight loss it needs to be spotted and treated as soon as possible. Around 1 in 10 people registered as blind have lost their sight because of glaucoma, but only a small proportion of people with glaucoma lose their sight altogether. We want this guideline to make a difference to people with glaucoma by making sure:  

  • more accurate tests are done before sending people on to an eye clinic or hospital
  • people who need specialist care are seen faster, so they get the right care at the right time
  • those people who have less serious problems can be looked after at their local opticians, making it easier for them and freeing up hospital services
  • people don’t have treatment they don’t need.

Making decisions together

Decisions about treatment and care are best when they are made together. Your eye care professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns.

To help you make decisions, think about:

  • What matters most to you – what do you want to get out of any treatment?
  • What are you most worried about – are there risks or downsides to the treatment that worry you more than others?
  • How will the treatment affect your day to day life?
  • What happens if you don’t want to have treatment?

If you can’t understand the information you are given, tell your eye care professional.

Read more about making decisions about your care.

In the news

Read NICE news about how this guideline will help.

People at a low risk of developing glaucoma can avoid unnecessary referral, says NICE

NICE’s updated guideline on glaucoma will mean fewer people need to be referred for further specialist investigation and possible treatment.

Where can I find out more?

NHS Choices has more information about glaucoma.

The organisations below can give you more advice and support.

NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.

We wrote this guideline with people who have been affected by glaucoma and staff who treat and support them. All the decisions are based on the best research available.

 ISBN: 978-1-4731-2714-2


This page was last updated: 01 November 2017