Using English primary care data to examine glaucoma

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / Glaucoma UK Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Professor Christopher Owen
  • Institute: St George’s University of London
  • Region: London
  • Start date: July 2021
  • Priority: Understanding
  • Eye Category: Glaucoma
Brief Lay Background

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and is characterised by damage to the optic nerve – the nerve that connects the eyes to the brain.

Around 80 million people across the globe have glaucoma, and with the ageing population, this number is projected to increase to 120 million by 2040.

What problem/knowledge gap does it help address

Management of glaucoma involves controlling intra-ocular pressure, which can be associated with retinal blood vessel size and shape.

Although the association has been identified in a small sample, there is a lack of data spanning across a large population over a long period of time to better understand whether retinal blood vessel size and shape is a cause or consequence of glaucoma.

Aim of the research project

To use general practice electronic records to examine whether taking medications to improve blood flow is associated with future glaucoma diagnosis.

Key procedures/Objectives
  1. Identify patients in the database diagnosed with and/or being treated for glaucoma surgically or pharmacologically.
  2. Analyse the data to determine glaucoma prevalence and identify factors associated with glaucoma treatment, such as socio-economic status.
  3. Carry out additional statistical tests including a detailed analysis of the use of blood flow medications prior to being diagnosed with and treated for glaucoma.
Potential impact on people with sight loss

This project aims to improve the understanding of the causal events of glaucoma. Confirming if this is to do with blood flow could inform treatment strategies and targets for the prevention and management of glaucoma.