New Eye Test Detects Earliest Signs of Glaucoma
Thursday, May 11 2017 | 00 h 00 min | Vision Science
A simple eye test could help to solve the biggest global cause of irreversible blindness, glaucoma.
The Wellcome-funded diagnostic – developed by researchers at University College London (UCL) and the Western Eye Hospital – allows doctors to see individual nerve cell death in the back of the eye.
Early detection means doctors can start treatment before sight loss begins. The test also has potential for early diagnosis of other degenerative neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.
The results of the first clinical trials with glaucoma patients were published in the journal BRAIN.
Professor Francesca Cordeiro, at UCL Institute of Opthamology, who led the research, said: “Although detection has been improving, most patients have lost a third of vision by the time they are diagnosed.
“Now, for the first time, we have been able to show individual cell death and detect the earliest signs of glaucoma. While we cannot cure the disease, our test means treatment can start before symptoms begin.”
The new technique means patients could be diagnosed up to ten years earlier than is currently possible.
Bethan Hughes, Wellcome’s Strategic Development Lead for Innovation, said: “This innovation has the potential to transform lives for those who suffer loss of sight through glaucoma, and offers hope of a breakthrough in early diagnosis of other neurodegenerative diseases.”