News 4 February 2022

Would you like to support research into the diagnosis of angle closure glaucoma?

If you have angle closure glaucoma or narrow angles, you could take part in research to help develop new diagnostic tests.

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We’re helping recruit patients to form a small PPI (patient and public involvement) group of 4-6 people to support research into diagnostic tests for angle closure glaucoma. This study is called ‘Glaucoma ACE’ and has been funded by the National Institute of Health Research. It will start in July 2022 and will last 24 months. The chief investigator is Professor Augusto Azuara-Blanco, from Queen’s University Belfast.

The PPI group will advise on all patient and public-facing documents, including promotional materials, patient information leaflets, informed consent forms and plain language summaries. They will support the distribution of the study’s results to patients and the public.

The PPI group will meet virtually during the development phase, at the end of the pilot phase, and at the end of the study. During all phases of the study, the PPI group will be supported by the trial manager and the Queen’s University Belfast PPI Engagement team. Funding is available to pay for your time.

Interest from people from ethnic minorities is particularly welcomed.

If you are interested, please contact Professor Augusto Azuara-Blanco at a.azuara-blanco@qub.ac.uk

More information about the Glaucoma ACE study

Open angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. Angle closure glaucoma causes 1 in 6 glaucomas in the UK but is more severe than open angle. The ‘angle’ is the front part of the eye that has drainage channels in it, where the aqueous humour – the clear fluid that fills that part of the eye – can drain out of. This helps prevent high pressure in the eye which is one of the key features of angle closure glaucoma.

The current NHS NICE guidance requires that patients who are referred to hospital eye services with possible glaucoma should have a test called ‘gonioscopy’ to examine the angle to rule out angle closure. This test needs to be done by an expert clinician with a special contact lens that touches the front of the eye. If there was an accurate non-contact assessment of the angle, gonioscopy by an expert clinician might not be needed for all individuals. These tests will reduce unnecessary hospital referrals and demand for clinician examination.

In the ACE study, two different tests to diagnose angle closure will be evaluated:

  1. Anterior-segment OCT, which is a sophisticated imaging technology that can be easily interpreted. This test is user friendly, easy to learn, fast, and provides consistent and high-resolution measurements of the angle structures. This device is widely available in NHS Trusts
  2. Limbal anterior chamber depth test, that estimates indirectly if the angle is open or closed; it is simple and quick, and is done routinely by optometrists.

If one or both of the non-contact tests done by non-ophthalmologists are as accurate as gonioscopy, this would free up doctors time and NHS resources to treat more patients with eye diseases.

In our study, we will ask 600 people referred to 12 NHS hospital eye services with suspected angle closure to have both tests. They will also be examined by an expert ophthalmologist, who will do gonioscopy unaware of the results of tests, so that we can find out how well the tests perform in an unbiased way. This will allow us to identify which is the most effective and efficient method of correctly diagnosing people with angle closure and which method represents best use of NHS resources.

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If you have angle closure glaucoma or narrow angles, you could take part in research to help develop new diagnostic tests. We’re helping recruit patients to form a small PPI (patient and public involvement) group of 4-6 people to support research into diagnostic tests for angle closure glaucoma. This study is called ‘Glaucoma ACE’ and […]

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