New glaucoma patient standards to improve support

Significant variations in standards of glaucoma care nationwide, resulting in increasing anxiety and frustration for glaucoma patients and, in some cases, deterioration in their sight, have led the IGA, UK Ophthalmology Alliance (UKOA) and Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) to produce a brand new Patient Standards Document, based on best practice from across the NHS.

Patient standards for glaucoma

Executive summary

This publication outlines the standards for excellent care across the whole patient pathway for those with glaucoma-related conditions. The standards have been developed by patients, patient charities and eye care professionals working together. They describe best practice as defined by national guidelines, publications and patient and professional consensus in one comprehensive document.

They should be used as a supplement to existing non-ophthalmic-specific patient standards and the RNIB-UKOA patient standards for ophthalmology.

Those providing or commissioning care for these conditions should assess their services and, where the standards are not met, take action for improvement.

Key points:

A) Co-ordinated care pathways

1) Using a robust referral and discharge process, ensure only those who need treatment in a hospital, are seen in a hospital.

2) Stop or avoid unnecessary treatment.

3) Monitor patients using a trained team of professionals in the community or hospital.

4) Ensure all the information and test results are available during all appointments.

B) Understanding and supporting patients

5) Adapt care facilities, method of testing, communication and patient support, so that all patients can access and be involved in their own care.

6) Give patients the full information, support and time they need to understand and be involved in their glaucoma care.

C) Shared decision making

7) Patients and professionals should use shared decision making about care and treatment.

D) Active participation of patients in care

8) Help patients to use their drops properly. Check this regularly.

9) Inform patients, and ask at every visit, about medication side effects.

10) Ensure patients know exactly who to contact or where to go if there is a problem with their eye or medication including in an emergency situation.

You can download all three documents by selecting the relevant link below:

A Patient Guide

Executive Summary

Patient Standards for Glaucoma