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Nottingham University Hospital Ophthalmology team awarded £1.7m NIHR Grant

eye testNottingham University Hospital has recently been granted a National Institute of Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) award of £1.7 million to investigate treatment into Glaucoma.

Glaucoma is caused when the pressure in the eye is too high, damaging the optic nerve (responsible for vision) and resulting in irreversible vision loss. It affects approximately 2% of the UK population over the age of 40 years, rising to as many as 10% in the over 80s. In England in the NHS there are over 1 million glaucoma related visits per year and it is the second most common cause of blindness in the UK.

Glaucoma is treated by reducing the pressure in the eye to a normal level; this may be achieved with either eye drops or surgery on the eye called a trabeculectomy.

Currently, there is uncertainty about how best to manage patients diagnosed with advanced glaucoma. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that glaucoma patients have surgery whilst most eye doctors treat them with eye drops. The question that the team, led by Anthony King, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust will try to answer is: Is primary medical treatment clinically and cost-effective for the management of newly diagnosed advanced glaucoma compared with the current standard care of trabeculectomy (glaucoma surgery).

The research project, TAGS (Treatment of Advanced Glaucoma Study) will take place in 20 different centres in the UK and will recruit 440 patients who present with severe glaucoma; these patients will be randomised into two groups and treated with either drops or surgery. It will take 7 years to complete this research.

In Nottingham patients who attend the ophthalmology department with severe glaucoma will be invited to participate in this very important research.

For more information on TAGS, visit the website.

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