New Eye Test could Detect Glaucoma Years Earlier


Glaucoma is eye disease that causes harm to eye’s optical nerve. Generally, it happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. This extra fluid pressurizes eye and damage the optic nerve. Glaucoma is responsible for permanent blindness. Generally, patients do not show any symptoms at an early stage. Currently, Eye pressure test, laser surgery, observation of the optical nerve, microscopic examination of the anterior eye, and visual field testing technique is used to diagnose glaucoma.

Both techniques use a Visual Field Analyser machine. This testing system uses only one test size to measure vision at different locations of the visual field.

In Australia, above 300,000 patients are infected with glaucoma. The possibility of this disease can increase with increasing age and family background. Glaucoma involves loss of optical nerve at the back of the eye, with early loss mainly occurring in peripheral vision

Recently, scientists from University of New South Wales, Australia (UNSW) have developed a testing protocol. This protocol can detect glaucoma four years earlier as compared to current techniques.

In this technique, patient need to see small dots of light of the specially chosen size and light intensity. An inefficiency to see them indicates blind spots in the eye and early loss of peripheral vision.

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This technique was tested on 13 patients and 42 people without eye disease for testing visual field. After testing, greater vision loss was detected in all patients.

Michael Kalloniatis, Director of the UNSW Centre for Eye Health Professor said that “There is no treatment to cure glaucoma. But its development can be slow down by using eye drops or surgery to lower pressure in the eye. So, early detection and early treatment are essential for prolonging sight.”

In this latest technique, an automated visual field analysis system is used. This system uses a pattern of different sized spots, which takes into account the fact that the eye processes visual information away from central vision differently.

This new technique is more sensitive for identifying glaucoma at the beginning stage. It is good but not perfect.

Professor Kalloniatis, said, “On average, we expect we will be able to detect glaucoma four years earlier than at present. We expecting that this new approach will someday be introduced to the world, and treatment can begin earlier to slow down vision loss in glaucoma”

The team is using this new test to determine above 30 more patients. They said, “they would like to conduct at large scale for a clinical trial to check its efficiency.”


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