Title: A glaucoma case finding pilot with the African Caribbean community

Author: Shaun Leamon and Helen Lee; Publisher: RNIB; Year of publication: 2015

Key Message

General Practice is an acceptable setting for a targeted glaucoma case finding service. GP Practice staff are supportive and satisfaction amongst patients is high.


Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness. Each year, more than 3,000 people over the age of 40 are certified blind or partially sighted because of glaucoma; making it the second most common cause of certifiable sight loss in the UK. The early detection of glaucoma is important in order to initiate appropriate monitoring and treatment and to minimize the risk of irreversible visual field loss. At present, the detection of glaucoma is based on opportunistic identification, with optometrists responsible for nearly all referrals to hospital eye service for suspected cases.

People of Black African and Caribbean descent are up to eight times more likely to develop open angle glaucoma and 10 to 15 years earlier than people of other ethnicities. So while glaucoma screening is not recommended for the general population it might be cost effective for high risk groups. RNIB collaborated with City and Hackney Primary Care Trust, GP practices in Hackney, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Moorfields Eye Hospital, the Local Optical Committee and the community in Hackney to pilot a glaucoma case finding service based in General Practice.

This research briefing outlines the findings from the pilot project.

Key findings

  • Approximately 1 in 6 people invited to attend the free glaucoma check based in a local GP surgery attended the appointment.
  • The service was universally well received, with 96.7 per cent of respondents rating the experience as positive.
  • Overall, 2.6 per cent of patients who underwent the free glaucoma check were either diagnosed as having glaucoma or identified as glaucoma suspects.
  • The cost per patient identified was £9,013

Note: Slightly revised figures for the results of the glaucoma case finding pilot are available in the peer reviewed journal article.

Watch a video about the pilot

Further publication

The results of this study have been published as a peer-reviewed article, 'A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of a Community-Based Glaucoma Check Service in Hackney, London, UK ', in Ophthalmic Epidemiology.