A cover article in the Winter 2013 issue of Ophthalmology International deals with Glaucoma screening, authors P Bettin and F Di Matteo.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of incurable visual disability and blindness worldwide. It is also a common disease with a prevalence of 2.7% in the population over the age of 40yrs. This means that 1 in 40 adults older than 40yrs of age will suffer from impaired vision due to glaucoma. Glaucoma is mostly asymptomatic for years and consequently often goes initially undetected.

The authors discuss several possible methods for glaucoma screening, including intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement, optic nerve imaging and measuring the peripheral field of vision. They conclude that the predictive power of these techniques is insufficient and that no single test can discriminate glaucoma from normal accurately enough to be an effective screening tool. Intraocular pressure measurement, for example, misses approximately 50% of subjects with glaucoma and detects others who have a raised IOP but may not go on to develop glaucoma.

Targeted screening selecting higher risk individuals may be a more effective method of detecting early disease. Risk factors for glaucoma include a family history, increasing age and black African ancestry. Everyone over the age of 40yrs should have a full eye examination, including IOP check, every 2yrs. Those with glaucoma in a first degree relative ie parent or sibling, should attend annually. In the future there may be a role for genetic screening in certain higher risk groups.

For a full ophthalmic assessment to detect, monitor or treat glaucoma please contact the Eastbourne Eye Clinic tel: 01323 414 813 or e-mail Lisa at info@eastbourneeyeclinic.co.uk