Revolutionary sight screening technology could save lives

March 13, 2009 5:34 PM
World Glaucoma Day

Mark is urging local residents to get their eyes tested

To mark World Glaucoma Day, Thursday 12 March, Cheadle MP Mark Hunter joined RNIB and researchers from Moorfield's Eye Hospital (London) at a meeting in Parliament where exciting new technology under development was revealed that will improve access to potentially sight saving tests for glaucoma.

Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of preventable blindness. It is estimated there are 67 million glaucoma sufferers in the world, but over 50% are undiagnosed, rising to 90% in the developing world. 500,000 people are affected in the UK but half are not receiving treatment because they are unaware they have the disease.

The aim of the new test is to improve global glaucoma detection.

Designed to be effective, affordable and accessible to all, the test software in development will run on a standard PC or laptop. Eventually, it is hoped that it will also be made available online, enabling clinicians from all over the world, including those in developing countries, to use it.

Mark Hunter MP said "I urge local people to have an eye test and ensure they are not one of the quarter of a million people in the UK with undiagnosed Glaucoma. Without an eye test you won't find out until it's too late, as Glaucoma doesn't have any symptoms in its early stages and you can lose up to 40% of your sight before realising anything is wrong."

Steve Winyard, RNIB's Head of Campaigns and Chair of the Glaucoma Alliance UK, said: "If caught early enough glaucoma can in nearly all cases be successfully treated and no sight need be lost. A regular simple eye test can pick up glaucoma in its early stages before you know that anything is wrong. That's why, alongside all the other organisations in the Glaucoma Alliance, we are encouraging everyone to book an eye test."

Many people are entitled to receive free eye tests. People who are over 40 and have a close relative with Glaucoma, have diabetes, are aged 60 or over, or who themselves or their partner receive benefits, family credit, pension credit.

For more information about glaucoma, visit www.rnib.org.uk or call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999. For more information about World Glaucoma Day, go to http://www.wgday.net/index.php

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