Glaucoma (easy read)

Easy read fact sheet on glaucoma. Glaucoma is caused by fluid building up in the eye, causing pressure which can damage your eye. 

This is an easy read document

Glaucoma is a problem with your eyes


Our eyes need to be healthy for us to see well.

Your eye has clear liquid in it.

This keeps your eye the right shape.


Glaucoma is a problem with the liquid in your eye.

The liquid in your eye drains away and is replaced by fresh liquid.

If the liquid cannot drain away properly, there can be too much liquid in your eye.

Too much liquid causes pressure.

This can damage your eye.

Eye test

Having an eye test every 2 years or more often is important.

The optician will tell you if they need to check for glaucoma.

Types of glaucoma

A calendar

Chronic glaucoma

This is the most common type of glaucoma. It can take years to happen.

You may not notice any changes to your sight for many years.

Eye test

When you look at the cross in the picture, you may see things clearly.

This is your central vision.

Without help your eyesight will get worse.

Without help, you may not see things clearly outside of your central vision.

An optician

An optician can find out if you have glaucoma before you notice a problem.


The optician will arrange for you to go to the hospital eye clinic.

A doctor

Secondary glaucoma

This can happen after people have an eye operation or an eye injury.


Acute glaucoma

This is when glaucoma happens very quickly.

Acute glaucoma happens in a small number of people.

How you notice acute glaucoma

Person being sick

You feel very ill and are sick.


You have bad headaches.

Blurred vision

Your eyesight might suddenly become blurred or unclear.

You may become blind in one eye or both eyes.


If these things happen go to hospital straight away.

Four people on a sofa

You are more likely to get glaucoma if:

  • Someone in your family has glaucoma.
Elderly gentleman
  • You are over 60 years old.
Thumbs up
  • You are African Caribbean or African American.
Smiling man
  • You are from South East Asia.
Diabetes test
  • You have diabetes.
  • You are very short sighted.

This means you need glasses for seeing things in the distance.

Support plan

If you are more likely to get glaucoma it should be written in your support plan or health action plan.

Visiting the optician for an eye test

Eye test

Go and see your optician if you or your supporters think you may have glaucoma.


If you are over 40 and at risk of glaucoma you can get free eye tests.

This includes having a close family member who has glaucoma.

Income support

Many people on benefits can get free eye tests.

Ask your optician for more information.


You can have an eye test every year if:

  • You have glaucoma.
  • You are over 40 and have a family member with glaucoma.
  • You have diabetes.
A form

You can fill in our ‘Telling the Optometrist About Me’ form and take it with you.

Optometrist is another word for optician.

You can fill in the form with a supporter.

Your eye test

Eye test

The optician can check for signs of glaucoma.

They can check how much pressure is in your eye.

Eye test

The optician might use a machine that puffs air onto your eye.

Eye drops

The optician might put eye drops into your eye.

Eye test

The optician then might use a machine that looks into your eyes with a blue light.

Treatment for glaucoma


If you have glaucoma your optician will ask you to go to a hospital eye clinic for help.

You will get a letter telling you where to go.

Eye test

Keep having eye tests with the optician as well as your hospital appointments.

Follow the advice from your optician and eye doctor.

Eye drops

You may be given eye drops to use every day.

This is the most common treatment.


You may be given tablets to take every day.

A doctor

Some people need to have an operation.

A form

You can choose whether to have an operation on your eye.

Our Eye Surgery Support Plan will help you to do this.