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City University London to conduct important research into tracking glaucoma

City researchers receive grant from National Institute for Health Research
by Hollie Jenkins

David Crabb, Professor of Statistics and Vision Research at City University London has been awarded a grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services Research (HSR) programme to investigate the frequency of monitoring of patients with glaucoma.

City University London will receive almost £300,000 in funding for the research project which will aim to provide data which can inform guidelines for how often patients newly diagnosed with glaucoma should have their vision tested. The project started in October 2011 and is due to be completed by the end of 2013.

Professor Crabb says that with the aging population, glaucoma is an increasingly prevalent condition:

"It is estimated that in the UK at the moment 500,000 people have glaucoma, as the population ages this figure is expected to rise. If dleft untreated, glaucoma can lead to eventual blindness. However, at present, there are no clear guidelines for how often patients who have been diagnosed with glaucoma should be tested to make sure their condition doesn't worsen under treatment.

"There are a number of variables at play. Because different patients experience different rates of visual deterioration, presently we don't know what level of monitoring provides the best outcomes for patients or is the most cost effective for the NHS.

"There may be some patients who experience very little deterioration, while others may need to be having treatments and check-ups more often."

"More data around the optimum frequency of visual testing will not only help improve patient outcomes, but also help the NHS more effectively anticipate services required to support glaucoma patients in the future. After all, it is estimated that there are over a million NHS out-patient appointments for glaucoma a year. "

The research will build on Professor Crabb's existing research focusing on glaucoma. The NIHR HSR award was one of only four funded from about 70 applications. Professor Crabb said:

"These awards are more evidence of the quality of clinical research being carried out here in the Department of Optometry and Visual Science at City University London."

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.