Glaucoma research


    Debra Jones, a Glaucoma Specialist Nurse, together with Professor Rupert Bourne, at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, have won a £25,0000 research grant after applying for the 2016 IGA (International Glaucoma Association) and RCN Research Grant.  The award will fund their 12 month project entitled, Development of an evidence-based clinical tool that will predict ‘risk of non-adherence’ to topically applied glaucoma medication.

    The aim of Debra Jones’ and Professor Bourne’s research is to investigate factors that may affect patients adhering to their eye drop medications for glaucoma and to develop a simple evidence-based clinical tool that will predict ‘risk of non-adherence’ that may be of use in assessing patients in the clinical setting.  In the long term it should produce a better understanding of the relationship between patient factors such as ocular surface disease, patient knowledge and treatment non-adherence to help deliver more patient-centred care in the future.

    About the IGA and RCN Research Grant

    The IGA and RCN Research Grant facilitates research into supporting patients during their glaucoma care.  It is estimated that there are 600,000 people with glaucoma in the UK today, but half are undiagnosed. The most common form of treatment of glaucoma is the administration of eye drops on a daily basis which reduce intra-ocular pressure, however, this only works if patients adhere to the treatment. The IGA encourages patient orientated research and research directly concerned with the improvement of the management of glaucoma.  The Grant is for individual nurses or departments, based in the UK or Eire and is awarded annually.

    Comments Russell Young, CEO of IGA: “We believe that the results of research such as this can make a real difference to people living with glaucoma. All too often the IGA receives calls from people who are having difficulty in taking their eye drops. The development of an evidence based clinical tool, will help to identify who is at risk, so that clinical support can be allocated and provided”.


    Notes for editors:

    *references available

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  • IGA Professor of Glaucoma recognised as one of most influential people in ophthalmology today

    IGA professor recognised for his glaucoma researchIGA Professor of Ophthalmology, Glaucoma and Allied Studies is recognised for the second consecutive year as one of the most influential people in ophthalmology today. For the second year running, Professor David Garway-Health has been included on the Ophthalmologist Power List 2016.

    Comments Russell Young; "Professor Garway-Heath's achievements are considerable. We are fortunate that, as well as his work as the Vice President of the European Glaucoma Society, his work with the University of London, his Consultant position at Moorfields Eye Hospital, he is also able to act as a clinical advisor and spokesperson for the IGA".

    Research by David (Ted) Garway-Heath has provided many new tools that are in widespread use today. These include the Moorfields Motion Displacement Test; The Moorfields Regression Analysis, a software program for imaging performance in tomography; and the Garway-Heath Map, used in research to establish the correlation between visual field and optic nerve hypoplasia changes. In addition, his work on the UK Glaucoma Treatment Study showed that it was possible to reduce considerably the period needed to identify treatment effects, thus increasing the likelihood of bringing new drugs more quickly and more cost-effectively to patients.

    For the full PowerList click here

    Note to editors


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  • Professor of Ophthalmology for Glaucoma and Allied Studies takes up position as European Glaucoma Society Vice President

    Professor David (Ted) Garway-Heath, the IGA Professor of Ophthalmology for Glaucoma and Allied Studies, has been appointed Vice President of the European Glaucoma Society (EGS) and takes up his full position in 2016. His first meeting as Vice President of the EGS takes place at the annual meeting in June 2016.

    Glaucoma research professor

    Professor Garway Health is based at University College London (UCL) and is Theme Leader for Vision Assessment and Imaging at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre based at Moorfields Eye Hospital and University City London Institute of Ophthalmology.

    In addition to his clinical work, Professor Garway-Heath's research focuses on the development and evaluation of techniques for effective diagnosis, monitoring and management of glaucoma, the identification of risk factors for glaucoma progression and decision-support systems for healthcare delivery services.

    He is the author of over 180 peer-reviewed publications. Professor Garway-Heath was bestowed the prestigious Alcon Research Institute Award for "outstanding contributors to ophthalmic research" as well as the World Glaucoma Association Research Recognition Award. He was also cited as one of the 100 most influential people in ophthalmology worldwide in 2014 in The Ophthalmologist magazine power list.

    For more information on Professor Garway-Heath's achievements.

    For more information on registration to the European Glaucoma Society 2016 annual meeting.

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  • The Lancet: Most commonly prescribed glaucoma drug reduces risk of vision loss by more than 50 per cent over 2 years

    19 December 2014

    Prostaglandin analogue eye drops, the most commonly prescribed treatment for glaucoma, can greatly reduce risk of vision loss in people with open angle glaucoma (OAG), one of the leading causes of blindness, according to the first placebo-controlled trial to assess their vision-preserving effect published in The Lancet.

    “Medication to lower raised eye pressure has been used for decades as the main treatment for OAG to delay progressive vision loss. But, until now, the extent to which the most frequently prescribed class of pressure-lowering drugs (prostaglandin analogues) have a protective effect on vision was not known” *, explains David Garway-Heath, lead author and International Glaucoma Association Professor of Ophthalmology at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, London, UK. “Our findings offer solid proof to patients and practitioners that the visual deterioration caused by glaucoma can be reduced using this treatment.”*

    OAG is the most common form of glaucoma affecting more than 550000 people in England and Wales and about 45 million worldwide, projected to increase to 53 million in 2020 and 80 million in 2040 [1]. Vision loss from glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged. In most cases, increased pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure), is thought to contribute to this damage.

    The United Kingdom Glaucoma Treatment Study (UKGTS) recruited 516 newly diagnosed, previously untreated individuals with OAG from 10 hospitals across the UK.

    Half were randomly assigned to daily pressure-lowering eye drops (latanoprost 0.005%) and the other half to a matching placebo. Over the course of 2 years, participants underwent frequent visual field tests to identify glaucoma deterioration to an extent that would not be noticed by the patient.

    In the 59 patients in the placebo group and 35 patients in the latanoprost group whose vision deteriorated during the study period, the risk of visual deterioration was over 50% lower in the group treated with daily pressure-lowering eye drops compared to those using placebo drops over 2 years. Importantly, a significant difference in treatment effects could be seen between the groups after just 12 months. Eighteen serious adverse events were reported (9 in the placebo group and 9 in the latanoprost group) but none were viewed as related to latanoprost.

    According to Professor Garway-Heath, “Normally, observation periods in trials are at least 5 years. We have shown that with more frequent testing, data can be collected using shorter observation periods. This will bring considerable benefits including speeding up novel drug development, reducing costs, and increasing the likelihood of bringing new drugs to patients.”*

    Writing in a linked Comment, Dr Anders Heijl from Lund University, Malmö, Sweden, points out, “Since modern glaucoma treatment is based on reduction of intraocular pressure, and because glaucoma management uses about 25% of all ophthalmology resources, this is a fundamental issue in ophthalmic care…These results should motivate careful clinical follow-up and monitoring of disease progression in patients with glaucoma, and should also serve as a stimulus to the pharmaceutical industry to continue development of new and even more potent drugs.”

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  • Visual component of UK driving test needs modernising

    26 November 2014

    Researchers from City University London have found that the visual component of the UK driving test is outdated.

    Using the latest technology, the study - which is published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology - shows that the current test used to assess fitness to drive is likely not assessing the right areas of the visual field. The findings might prompt the design of a fairer eye sight test ensuring with greater accuracy that only those safe to drive are present on the roads.

    To measure the effects of different visual impairments the researchers developed a novel computer setup. This technology gave people with normal vision ‘simulated’ sight loss in different areas of their vision whilst they tried to detect hazards in movies of driving scenes.

    The team found that a loss of the upper part of someone’s visual field had a larger impact on their ability to detect driving hazards than those with a loss in the lower part. Unfortunately the current test used by DSA (Driving Standards Agency) to assess patients with eye disease tends to test more areas in the lower part of the visual field.

    David Crabb, lead author on the study and Professor of Statistics and Vision Research at City University London, said:

    “The current test used to examine the visual field component for legal fitness to drive in patients with eye disease in the UK is far from ideal. Our study goes some little way to highlight this.

    “The visual component of fitness to drive is a very tricky to assess. Yet, at the moment some people are losing or retaining their driving licence on a far from perfect test. We need more research in this area, especially on what parts of vision are needed for safe driving.”

    Russell Young, CEO of International Glaucoma Association, which provided a research award to fund this work said:

    “These are important early findings which begin to question the suitability of the Esterman visual field test that is currently being used to assess a person’s fitness and safety to drive. People with glaucoma in both eyes are required by the DSA to take this test; they are often worried about what to expect, and stressed about the impact on their quality of life if they have to relinquish their licence.

    “The current test developed over 30 years ago, was not designed with driving in mind and, as this new research highlights, it probably doesn’t test the important parts of the visual field well enough. Further investment is needed to fund the design and development of improved tests and technology for assessing the visual field component of fitness to drive.”

    “It is vital that people with glaucoma and other visual impairments as well as the driving authorities are confident in the tests and equipment being used.”


    Click here for a copy of the study To speak to Professor David Crabb (@crabblab), please contact George Wigmore, Senior Communications Officer at the School of Health Sciences, City University London. E: T: 0207 040 8782 M: 07989 643 112

    For more information please contact: Karen Brewer (International Glaucoma Association), 01233 64 81 64. M: 0751 636 9630. email:

    For more information about Glaucoma and Driving, see the IGA driving leaflet.

    About The International Glaucoma Association

    The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) is the charity for people with glaucoma, with the mission to raise awareness of glaucoma, promote research related to early diagnosis and treatment, and to provide support to patients and all those who care for them. For more information, please visit

    About City University London

    City University London is a global University committed to academic excellence, with a focus on business and the professions and an enviable central London location.  It is in the top five per cent of universities in the world according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013/14 and in the top thirty universities in the UK according to the Times Higher Education Table of Tables 2012. It is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for both graduate-level jobs (The Good University Guide 2014) and in the top 5 for graduate starting salaries (Lloyds Bank).

    The University attracts over 17,000 students (35% at postgraduate level) from more than 150 countries and academic staff from over 50 countries.  Its academic range is broadly-based with world leading strengths in business; law; health sciences; engineering; mathematical sciences; informatics; social sciences; and the arts including journalism and music. The University’s history dates back to 1894, with the foundation of the Northampton Institute on what is now the main part of City’s campus. In 1966, City was granted University status by Royal Charter and the Lord Mayor of London was invited to be Chancellor, a unique arrangement that continues today. Professor Paul Curran has been Vice-Chancellor of City University London since 2010.

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  • How watching TV can help to detect glaucoma

    20 November 2014

    Professor David Crabb of City of London University explains on the BBC World Service, how research has used eye tracking software coupled with popular TV, to detect glaucoma. The research is fascinating and shows how advances in technology, investment in eye tracking software, can be used to both help and provide possible options for ongoing management of the condition, which is life-long.

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  • IGA Announces Research Awards 2015

    12 August 2014

    The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) announces the availability of £200,000 for critical research into glaucoma. The research grants will be awarded to a range of professionals dedicated to glaucoma research and the management and care of patients with glaucoma.

    Those benefiting from research grants will include:

    1. IGA/Royal College of Ophthalmologists joint award = £75,000  (closing date 30 January 2015)
    2. IGA/UK and Eire Glaucoma Society joint award = £75,000 (closing date 22 September 2014)
    3. IGA/College of Optometrists joint award = £25,000 (closing date, 1 May 2015)
    4. IGA/Royal College of Nursing joint award = £25,000 (closing date 27 February 2015)

    Commenting on the research awards programme, CEO Russell Young said:

    “Since IGA was first formed in 1974, research has been integral to our work. We are committed to supporting the many professionals who work tirelessly to investigate, manage and care for people with glaucoma. It is this work that enables us to provide accurate, evidence-based support and information and to advance the understanding of glaucoma and future therapies that could become available”.

    Successful research projects for 2014 have included: research into self tonometry and its accuracy against the clinical standard; nurses knowledge of glaucoma in care home settings; the validation of the Patient reported Outcome and Experience Measure (POEM) to transform the doctor/patient relationship; evaluation of the glaucoma passport and its effectiveness in enhancing patients’ self-care; the identification of novel genetic variants for primary open angle glaucoma; and looking at the  neuroprotection of human retinal ganglion cells by platelet derived growth factor and human stem cells in order to develop long term treatments for severe glaucoma progressing despite conventional eye pressure lowering treatment.

    Applications and full details of the awards can be found at For more information please contact Richenda Kew on 01233 64 81 64 or email: To interview an IGA spokesperson, please contact: Karen Brewer, Head of Marketing & PR on 01223 64 81 69 or email:

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  • Treatment of Advanced Glaucoma Study (TAGS)

    18 July 2014

    A new study comparing treatments for advanced glaucoma has recently started. TAGS will compare two standard NHS treatments - medical management (eye drops) or surgery (trabeculectomy) - to find out which is better in terms of participants’ quality of life.

    Participating hospitals will seek to recruit new referrals to glaucoma clinics (via GPs or optometrists) to participate. Patients will be eligible if they have advanced glaucoma in at least one of their eyes and treatment is required to lower eye pressure to prevent further visual loss. Patients with advanced glaucoma must be recruited into the study within 3 months of their diagnosis. Patients who consent to take part will be randomly assigned to one of the two treatments. At least 20 hospitals across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will participate in the Study.

    Patients will be asked to complete questionnaires about their vision.  In addition, the questionnaires will ask about their experiences and opinions of the treatment they received. Questionnaires will be completed either in the patient’s home or at clinic, as appropriate. Participants will be followed-up for approximately two years and will complete questionnaires when they join the study and then again at approximately 1, 3, 4, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months later. Because patients’ quality of life is the main measurement used in TAGS, the answers to these questions are the most important information collected in the study. The study will also gather clinical information about participants’ vision and eye health when they routinely visit the eye clinic.

    TAGS is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HTA, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health.

    If you would like more information about this trial please follow the link below:

    1. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme funds research about the effectiveness, costs, and broader impact of health technologies for those who use, manage and provide care in the NHS. It is the largest NIHR programme and publishes the results of its research in the Health Technology Assessment journal, with over 600 issues published to date. The journal’s 2011 Impact Factor (4.255) ranked it in the top 10% of medical and health-related journals. All issues are available for download, free of charge, from the website. The HTA Programme is funded by the NIHR, with contributions from the CSO in Scotland, NISCHR in Wales, and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.
    2. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (

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