DOCTORS are urging residents to attend regular eye screenings to prevent the ‘silent thief of sight’.

Glaucoma affects one in 50 people over 40-years-old and one in 10 over 75 and with no symptoms it can often mean patients do not realise they have it until it is at an advanced stage.

Woolston man Neville Green is one of the lucky ones after being referred to hospital following a routine optician appointment which spotted the pressure was high in one eye.

After a successful operation, the 82-year-old now says he only uses his glasses for reading and is delighted to still be able to drive.

The former engineer at CWS in the town added: “I feel champion now.

“I like playing golf so that’s been made easier now and generally it has made a big improvement to my life.

“I would say to anybody concerned to go see someone to save their eye sight.

“After what happened to me I recently convinced my son-in-law to go to his opticians and he found he has cataracts in both of his eyes.”

Treatment for glaucoma starts with drops before a decision is made if an operation is needed but Marta Hovan from Warrington Hospital added it is vital first of all for patients to attend the screenings they are invited to.

Speaking during glaucoma awareness week, the consultant on the ophthalmology department added: “It’s so important to go and get screened particularly if there’s a family history of glaucoma or if you’re over 40 to 45 as it’s an age-related condition.

“It affects peripheral vision so often people don’t realise they can’t see well until around 70 to 80 per cent of optic nerve fibers have gone.

“Everybody who is over 40 will receive a letter from their GP surgery offering them a free sight test which is their glaucoma check-up rather than whether they need glasses.

“Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness so people shouldn’t ignore it.