THOUSANDS of people living in South Gloucestershire are at risk of having their vision stolen by a condition dubbed as the ‘silent thief of sight’.

Around 2,940 South Gloucestershire residents are in danger of going blind from glaucoma – one of the largest causes of blindness in the world – due to its gradual onset.

Glaucoma usually occurs when naturally-occurring fluid inside the eye does not drain properly, leading to a build-up of pressure. This can then cause damage to the optic nerve and nerve fibres from the retina.

Specsavers in Thornbury are highlighting the problem during Glaucoma Awareness Week.

Nirav Shah, optician at Specsavers in Thornbury, said: "The good news is glaucoma can generally be treated effectively if detected early, and in most cases, daily eye drops are used."

"Visual loss is initially very subtle. Most people are not aware there is any loss because of the way the eyes’ visual fields overlap to compensate for one another.

"Our sight is so precious. We visit our dentist every six months and a sight test every two years should be on our to do lists. It could, quite literally, save your sight."