15 November 2023
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SAN FRANCISCO – Glaucoma programs can improve detection by taking notes from cataract services, according to a speaker at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting.
Ganesh Venkatraman, MD, It is said that 50% to 90% of glaucoma cases are undiagnosed and untreated, and one third of patients in low- or middle-income countries are not already diagnosed.
“It is the third leading cause of blindness, the fourth leading cause of moderate to severe visual impairment, and it is the first leading cause of irreversible blindness,” he said.
To expand that recognition, Venkatraman said glaucoma specialists might look to cataract programs that have had success in expanding care. One example is creating a public awareness campaign that involves celebrity ambassadors to spread the word to more people. Emphasis is placed on training and education of care providers, and more tasks are shifted to ophthalmic assistants and technicians.
Cataract programs also expand outreach by creating screening camps and vision centers to reach underserved populations, and they use government and non-governmental organizations for support.
Venkataraman at Aravind Eye Hospital in India said opportunistic screening is used to screen people for glaucoma.
“Patients who come in, their family members, are encouraged to get their eyes checked,” he said.
Telemedicine and digital health can be used to improve early detection. This includes looking for opportunities to work with optical shops, primary health care centers and primary eye care centers to capture more patients.
“Once you detect glaucoma, you have to treat (patients) effectively, therefore reducing the cost of treatment, negotiating with drug companies to reduce costs,” Venkataraman said. “
Venkatraman G. The Elusive Cataract: Strategies for Busy Eye Programs. Presented at: American Academy of Ophthalmology Meeting; November 3-6, 2023; San Francisco.
Venkatraman has not made any relevant financial disclosures.