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Glaucoma is not one disease, but a group of conditions, which have in common that they damage nerves carrying messages from the retina to the brain at the point where they exit the eyeball, at the optic nerve. With treatment most people keep their sight. Glaucoma is the most common cause of preventable blindness in the UK because it is often not identified at an early stage.

Johnson & Furze is the only local clinic that is able to care for patients who have glaucoma or raised eye pressure. This is due to the recognition by NICE of the qualifications and experience of our Principal Optometrists. Most patients with glaucoma are treated with eyedrops that we can prescribe. When an operation is indicated we work closely with ophthalmic surgeons.

This service is popular because it avoids having to attend busy hospital clinics. It also allows you to be reviewed by the same person, when scheduled, without the worry of appointment delays, or whenever you are concerned. It is sometimes possible to manage these conditions within your regular appointments, but it is often necessary to allow a bit more time for additional tests and to discuss the results.

Testing for glaucoma

There is no single glaucoma test. At a minimum, it is necessary to measure eye pressure, assess the peripheral visual field, and examine the optic nerve. There are lots of ways of doing each of these and they are not equivalent. It is also important to carefully examine the part of the eye where fluid drains so we understand why the pressure is raised. However, more important than any test is the ability of the clinician interpreting the results.


Early detection

The first sign of glaucoma is structural change to the optic nerve head, but detecting glaucoma by examing the optic nerve is difficult because everybody's nerve is slightly different, and there is a big overlap between the appearance of healthy nerves and those with glaucoma. In early disease, the optic nerve is often within normal levels, and this may make it impossible to be sure if there is a problem at a single visit. This delays diagnosis and is why it is customary to have to wait for more damage and loss of vision before starting treatment.

We have invested in technology that lets us measure the optic nerve with repeatable precision and so identify change from glaucoma, without needing to wait for the nerve to appear abnormal or for damage to the visual field. The SPECTRALIS imaging platform quantifies the retinal nerve thickness to an accuracy of one-thousandth of a millimetre. No other technology is comparable. When used with full-threshold visual fields we can normally detect glaucoma between 5-10 years sooner than a standard eye test.



Our credentials for managing glaucoma

Dr Michael Johnson and Mrs Hayley Johnson have a nationally recognised diploma in glaucoma (DipGlauc) and many years of experience working in hospital glaucoma clinics. This means that we are in a unique position within our local community in that we are able to diagnose and manage ocular hypertension, suspect glaucoma, and patients with a diagnosis of glaucoma. Independent prescribing status means that we can also prescribe any medications.

This is why we can offer you the reassurance of the highest standards of clinical care and the convenience of being seen locally in a timely manner.

Johnson M, et al. An economic comparison of hospital-based and community-based glaucoma clinics. Eye. 2012;26(11):1493.

Johnson ME. Glaucoma in community. Optician. 2012.

Get in Touch

Telephone: (01454) 411760

7 Chapel Street, Thornbury, BS35 2BJ

Opening hours

Monday - Wednesday 8:45 - 5:30
Thursday 8:45 - 7.00
Friday 8:45 - 5:30
Saturday 9.00 - 4.00