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Early detection is key to tackling glaucoma

Early detection and treatment key to tackling glaucoma

 

Early detection and treatment are key to preventing sight loss from glaucoma, says Specsavers founder Doug Perkins.

Doug Perkins

Mr Perkins is highlighting the importance of the eye health sector working together to help raise awareness, highlighting how community optometry and ophthalmology services can collaborate to meet patient need.

‘Glaucoma is the most preventable cause of blindness in the UK, provided early detection and treatment is in place,’ says Mr Perkins, writing in a new eye health report bringing together experts from optometry, ophthalmology, and eye care charities.

‘It is shocking that patients are losing sight from this treatable condition while on waiting lists. Prevention must be a priority for us all and together we need to reach millions of people with important messages about looking after their eyes.’


Specsavers
is working alongside its partners, Glaucoma UK and Visionary, to raise awareness of the importance of eye health and regular eye tests because many people are unaware that glaucoma often has no symptoms.

‘For those with confirmed glaucoma, regular monitoring is crucial, yet challenges to capacity mean that appointments are often rescheduled,’ adds Mr Perkins, writing in The State of the UK’s Eye Health 2022 report.

More capacity is needed, he says, to meet current and future demand for glaucoma services – the Royal College of Ophthalmologists anticipates a 44% increase in demand for glaucoma services by 2035.

‘We need to reduce the numbers of patients who need to be seen in secondary care, for example by using referral filtering models consistently. We also need to increase capacity for those patients through the wider adoption of shared services.

‘We have guidance from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and our professional bodies for standardised glaucoma care pathways and this report highlights examples of community optometry and ophthalmology services collaborating effectively to meet patient need and save sight.

‘More than ever, our leadership conversations need to be driven by data and evidence to scale these up at pace, drawing on the tools and expertise already in place in the community.’

As many as half of all glaucoma cases are undiagnosed yet millions of people don’t access regular eye care, especially some of the most vulnerable. Specsavers has committed to a long-term partnership with Vision Care for Homeless People, Crisis and The Big Issue to provide high quality eye care to people who are not in a position to advocate for themselves and unable to access NHS services.

‘Their lived experience will be a powerful tool to help us identify better ways to meet their needs as part of wider, more holistic support,’ says Mr Perkins.
‘Our founding vision has always been to make the best eye care available to everyone. We are completely focused on being part of that solution, going the extra mile to care for the nation’s eye health, so reducing avoidable sight loss.’

Read about World Sight Day

Also read Glaucoma Time bomb story on Opchat News 

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