Glaucoma: Going the Distance
Through innovative methods of educating, screening and diagnosing the world’s population, we can win the battle against glaucoma
Constance Okeke | | Opinion
I was genuinely excited to hear that The Ophthalmologist team selected Glaucoma Management as a core theme for the first half of 2020. This complex condition has benefited from amazing progress in recent years, but there is still much to do in the prevention of vision loss in glaucoma patients worldwide.
Glaucoma is highly prevalent – and rising (1). And there are significant regional shortages of skilled doctors, who are not only able to provide a diagnosis, but also the continuity of care that is so essential in glaucoma management.
The emphasis has to be put on early disease detection and comprehensive screening, which demands increased awareness and ongoing education of patient populations, as well as health and social care professionals. We are now able to disseminate information via internet channels, such as YouTube, using specific educational tools. For example, my MIGS University Video Series on the iGlaucoma YouTube channel reaches people in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe, as well as North America.
Telemedicine and artificial intelligence will inevitably provide a significant advantage, by making use of a healthcare workforce that can screen patients anywhere – and using the data they provide in increasingly effective and novel ways.
Well-established diagnostic methods are not going away anytime soon, but I can see how newer technologies, such as corneal hysteresis, optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A) and implantable IOP monitoring devices, can aid in providing more accurate diagnoses. I’m personally excited about the prospect of a diagnostic test that shows retinal cell apoptosis in the optic nerve using fluorescent labeling...
Real innovation – and spreading the word about those advances (as in this 2020 Glaucoma Management theme) – will become our most effective weapons in the battle against glaucoma over the next decade and beyond. With all available resources dedicated to initiating conversations at all levels, we can prevent irreversible vision impairment.
Constance Okeke, Glaucoma and Cataract Specialist, Partner, CVP Physicians – Virginia Eye Consultants
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- National Eye Institute, “Glaucoma Data and Statistics” (2019). Available at: bit.ly/30umcr7.