Eye care professionals improves glaucoma management

Optometrists and ophthalmologists at UNSW’s Centre for Eye Health are taking a new approach to managing patients with glaucoma.

Male patient under eye vision examination in eyesight ophthalmological correction clinic
Image: UNSW

Glaucoma is a dynamic optic neuropathy that influences roughly 3% of individuals matured 50 years and over. Its frequency is expanding as Australia’s populace develops and ages. With no cure accessible, early discovery, fitting treatment, and deep-rooted checking are required to control irreversible vision misfortune.

Now, in order to relieve some of the pressure on public hospitals, UNSW scientists in collaboration with Prince of Wales Hospital Ophthalmology Department and the Centre for Eye Health, have established a model that provides benefits for the management of patients with the blinding eye disease glaucoma.

Study co-author and ophthalmologist Dr. Michael P. Hennessy said, “This new model of care we have established has great potential to help with the challenge to assess new, non-urgent outpatient referrals for glaucoma to public hospital ophthalmology within the 4-month regulatory requirement.”

During the study, scientists volunteered 180 patients with a mean age of 60 years. Patients held up 43 days, by and large, for an arrangement. Most patients – 51% – were determined to have glaucoma, and 41% had suspected glaucoma requiring progressing checking. A further 2 for each penny had an alternate optical neuropathy, and just 6% were found to have no eye sickness.

Study lead author and UNSW research fellow Dr. Barbara Zangerl said, “Although collaborative arrangements between ophthalmologists and optometrists for patients with glaucoma have existed in the past, our clinic was one of the first integrated clinics that allow in-house collaboration.”

“Results from the first 18 months of operation have justified the trust and vision needed to build this exceptional model with the two professions working side by side.”

Director of the Centre for Eye Health, UNSW Professor Michael Kalloniatis, says: “With 20% of patients choosing to transfer to the new clinic due to financial constraints, we believe this clinic can service the patients who are most in need and can help prevent irreversible vision loss through early diagnosis and monitoring.”

Study first author and UNSW Ph.D. Candidate Jessie Huang says: “The asymptomatic nature of glaucoma during its early stages results in approximately half of all Australians affected with glaucoma not being diagnosed until they have already developed significant vision loss.”

A study of the first 18 months of the clinic’s operations is published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, including outcomes for more than 180 patients with a mean age of 60 years.