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10 September 2015

National Eye Health Week: International Glaucoma Association Announces New Manchester Research Projects

The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) announces two Manchester based research projects during National Eye Health Week* (21-27 September) in a bid to improve treatments and quality of life for glaucoma patients.
Evaluation of Virtual clinics for Glaucoma Care
A two year joint study with the UK and Eire Glaucoma Society is being conducted by Robert Harper, Optometrist Consultant of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, to evaluate patients’ and clinicians’ experiences of virtual monitoring clinics in the UK.
The past decade has seen different measures to monitor glaucoma patients with a number of NHS Trusts using ‘Virtual Clinics’ as part of the solution, where data is collected on the day a patient visits either a hospital or a community clinic, often using electronic patient records which are then analysed by an expert clinician without the patient being there. Very little is known about patients’ experiences and perceptions of virtual clinics, or about clinicians’ opinions of them and the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust study will investigate this through online surveys, focus groups and interviews.
Commenting on the study, Robert Harper of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says: ‘It is so fundamental to collate both the patient and practitioner viewpoints to inform the way in which we run our clinics and this virtual clinic research aims to address key deficiencies in information in this respect.’
Patients’ and Carers’ Perspectives of Managing Glaucoma when Living with Dementia
A joint research study with the Royal College of Nursing is being run by Professor Heather Waterman of the University of Manchester to better understand how people living with dementia manage a sight threatening condition such as glaucoma. About one in four people who have severe visual impairment from glaucoma also have a diagnosis of dementia. It is more difficult to assess and treat glaucoma when people also live with dementia and together they compound feelings of distress and disorientation.
This study aims to support the development of clinical guidance on how glaucoma services can be improved to meet the needs of people living with dementia.
Commenting on the new research projects, CEO of the IGA Russell Young says, ’We are delighted to be announcing two new research projects during National Eye Health Week, which will may improve the management and daily lives of glaucoma patients. Robert Harper of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Professor Heather Waterman of the University of Manchester are both extremely highly respected in optometry and we are delighted to be working with them on these crucial glaucoma research projects.’
Note to editors:

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the main nerve to the eye (the optic nerve) is damaged where it leaves the eye. This nerve carries information about what is being seen from the eye to the brain and as it becomes damaged vision is lost.

*National Eye Health Week
National Eye Health Week is an annual event where eye care charities, organisations and health professionals from across the UK join together to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all.
**The survey was commissioned by the IGA through Red Dot Research on 14-19 May 2015 among more than 1,000 people over the age of 45 nationwide.
* available on request.
For further information or to interview an IGA spokesperson, please contact:
Annabel Hillary, 07884 430862,
or Mary-Jane Greenhalgh, 07866 722051,
or Karen Brewer on: DD: 01233 64 81 69; M: 07976 08 52 40;,

For more information about glaucoma, visit:
About the International Glaucoma Association:
1. 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:
2. Set up in 1974, it is the oldest patient based glaucoma association in the world and it is a Charity Registered in Scotland, England & Wales.
3. As part of its support services, it operates the IGA Sightline (helpline) and provides free information on any aspect of glaucoma.
4. For more information about glaucoma, contact the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) Sightline on 01233 64 81 78 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am–5.00pm).