Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is the thief you don’t see, and every year it’s robbing Kiwis of the things they love—their ability to drive, work and play —through loss of vision. Crucially, glaucoma often goes undetected, meaning the sufferer may not realise the loss until it’s too late.
March is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Your help is crucial to tell everyone aged 40 or over that they are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma and should be having regular eye health tests. 
This Glaucoma Awareness Month, we are bringing to light the concerning impact of the preservative benzalkonium chloride (BAK) on your ocular health and the lack of funding for preservative-free glaucoma drops available in NZ. You can help to change this.
Please donate now to support a vital clinical trial so kiwis have affordable and fair access to preservative-free glaucoma drops

Wendy keeps a close eye on her Dad, Jasper

“I just don’t understand why, why? If preservative damages the eye so much, why don’t we just make the preservative-free ones available?”

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Preservatives a Double-Edged Sword

There are several different preservatives that are used but the most common and the best studied is benzalkonium chloride (BAK).

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A Matter of Choice

Such is the impact of the preservatives on Joan that despite her clinical background and fear of going blind, she stopped taking the glaucoma drops.

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Glaucoma Eyedrops: Are preservatives toxic for the Trabecular Meshwork?

Benzalkonium chloride (BAK), a quaternary ammonium molecule, is the most commonly used ophthalmic preservative.

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The damage that drops can do!

The main culprit in these cases is the preservative benzalkonium chloride (BAK).

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3 ways you can help

  1. Encourage your friends, siblings, and colleagues age 40+ to head to their local optometrist for an eye health test.

If they say,” oh, I can see fine”, then you must reply with, “Glaucoma is known as the sneak thief of sight because it often has no symptoms before diagnosis”. If you or family members have glaucoma, then add, “You are at a significantly greater risk of developing glaucoma because it’s in our family’.

  1. Share your knowledge about the preservative Benzalkonium chloride (BAK) and its impact on your quality of life and eye health.
  2. Donate now to support a vital clinical trial so kiwis have affordable and fair access to preservative-free glaucoma drops.



Right now, Kiwis don’t have access to the preservative-free drops that they need and deserve. You can change that by helping to fund a vital clinical trial. 

The evidence generated from this study will provide a robust foundation for Glaucoma NZ to approach Pharmac, advocating for the funding of preservative-free glaucoma drops.

Your gift has the potential to improve the accessibility of safer alternatives for glaucoma patients and contribute to long-term ocular health outcomes.

Donate in April and you will have your gift matched by a private donor – up to $30,000!

We are grateful for the support from our campaign partners (AbbVie, Glaukos, OPSM, Specsavers) who are also committed to saving sight for thousands of Kiwis. THANK YOU!  

We would also like to thank  Michelle Sokolich Videographer, Finn Wilson,  Sarah Hannaford-Hill, Paddy Gower, Professor Helen DaneshMeyer, Dr Sonya Bennett, The Christian Family, The Kiser Family – all absolute champions! 


Help us make a difference

Your donation will help us to save sight and continue helping people with glaucoma get access to the information and support they need.


Join Glaucoma NZ

Get the support you need

Glaucoma NZ provides free information, support materials and invites to events to help you and others live well with glaucoma.

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