Although eyesight is one of the most precious senses humans have, many people do not look after it in the way that they should, and are putting their vision at risk, the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) has warned.
Sarah Zerbib, head of marketing and PR at the IGA, said that people need to make sure they take care of their eyes by having regular eye tests at least every two years, even if their sight seems fine.
She explained that conditions such as glaucoma "creep up on you without warning", as in most cases there are no symptoms in the early stage of the disease.
Figures show that glaucoma affects over 600,000 people aged 40 and over in the UK and only 50 per cent of them have been diagnosed, leaving the other half unaware that they are slowly losing sight.
However, while anybody can develop glaucoma, it becomes much more common with age, especially after 40, Ms Zerbib explained.
When it comes to preventing glaucoma blindness, early diagnosis and compliance with recommended treatments are "essential" to avoid unnecessary sight loss, the specialist noted.
She noted that the IGA recently published an advice paper entitled EyeWay Code: Keep your eyes and life on the road after 40 years old, which can be downloaded from its website.
"The EyeWay Code gives readers plenty of information on glaucoma, including an explanation of the condition and its impact on vision, why regular eye tests are important, what to do if you have been diagnosed and where to find more information and support," Ms Zerbib added.
It comes after a recent study by researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, described how they have analysed and ranked the various risk factors for open angle glaucoma, which include smoking, age and thinning of the neuroretinal rim.
by Alexa Kaczka