Testing on tap: glaucoma monitoring in the home (C-100450)

30 July 2021
Summer 2021

What are the potential benefits of home glaucoma monitoring – and the challenges to be overcome? Juliette Astrup reports.

Domains covered

Communication Clinical practice

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide (Parihar, 2016) and is responsible for one in 10 UK blindness registrations (NICE, 2007). Lifelong treatment and monitoring for an ageing population creates pressure on the hospital eye service (HES), with more than one million glaucoma visits per year (Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, 2020).

Inadequate capacity means patients are not always getting the timely follow-up reviews they need, with delays leading to avoidable sight loss. Up to 22 people a month experience permanent and severe vision loss due to health service-initiated delays across ophthalmology (Foot and MacEwen, 2017). Research has shown that closer monitoring could help identify high-risk patients and get them treatment sooner (Wu et al, 2017; Boodhna and Crabb, 2016).

In the midst of this pressing need to free up capacity for those at most risk, technology will play a major role. Several devices have been developed to perform intraocular pressure and visual field tests away from hospital (Che Hamzah et al, 2020), and a study from City, University of London, has taken it further, giving glaucoma patients a tablet-based visual field test – Eyecatcher – to use in their own homes (Jones et al, 2021a).

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