Helping people understand glaucoma with a mobile app

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Free mobile app demystifies glaucoma – helping to explain symptoms, impact and treatment to patients and their families

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Credit: Allergan

Researchers from City, University London, supported by Allergan Pharmaceuticals and Glaucoma UK, have today released the latest edition of an app to help people newly diagnosed with glaucoma.

The launch coincides with World Glaucoma Week (7-13 March 2021), a global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) to raise awareness of the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness.

Glaucoma describes a group of chronic conditions that result in progressive damage to the optic nerve which connects the retina of the eye to the brain, causing people to gradually lose vision.

Early vision loss from glaucoma can go undetected, and irreversible sight loss may only become apparent when a person’s compensatory perceptive mechanisms unravel. In some cases, glaucoma leads to visual impairment and blindness, with the condition responsible for 1 in 10 cases of serious sight impairment in the UK.

It is estimated that more than 700,000 people in the UK and around 78 million worldwide have glaucoma, half of whom are unaware they have the condition. Between 2015 and 2035, the number of people in the UK living with glaucoma is expected to increase by 44 per cent to in excess of 1 million.

The Glaucoma in Perspective app provides glaucoma education in a simple, visual, jargon-free, easy to use format, which helps patients and their families better understand the potential impact of the condition on their lives. It covers topics such as how a visual field test works, why eye pressure is important, as well as the correct use of eyedrops to reduce the risk of the condition progressing, and the consequent vision loss.

One of the main features of the app is a series of interactive demonstrations that highlight the subtle sight loss that can occur with glaucoma, especially in the early stages of the disease. The app technology allows the user to experience the impact of glaucoma on everyday situations such as driving, cooking, walking down the stairs or shopping. Users are also provided with up-to-date information about their condition and the treatments available via a series of novel animations.

The app is available for free on iTunes (IOS) and Google Play (Android). This latest edition has been further optimised for usability and targeted for use on mobile phone and tablet devices, with increased font size for text and an improved interface to make the app easier to navigate.

The development of the app has been supported by Glaucoma UK, the charity for people with glaucoma, to ensure it is accessible to a wide audience. The app includes information about Glaucoma UK and the many ways the charity can support people with glaucoma and their loved ones.

Led by Professor David Crabb, the development team based the interactive app on findings from their research into patients’ perception of sight loss with glaucoma.

App user, Carol, shared her thoughts on the app:

“I love the App and found it extremely useful on all levels.

After 30 years with glaucoma, there were still things on the App I didn’t know! Meanwhile, it’s wonderful to be able to share the App with family and friends, so they understand more about glaucoma – it can be a lonely place without that support. The graphics and interactive elements take some of the sting out of having to deal with the disease alone. For long sufferers, as well as people suddenly discovering they have this condition can be a real blow. Having an App like this helps you work through all the ramifications slowly, and in your own time, to fully digest what’s involved and how you can work with your doctor to make the best of it. A very positive experience.”

David Crabb, Professor of Statistics and Vision Research and lead of the Crabb Lab at City, University of London, commented:

“If you have glaucoma, or someone you know has glaucoma, this app has been developed for you. Patient information for glaucoma suffers from being complicated, poorly presented, or inaccurate. We think Glaucoma in Perspective offers a fresh look. We hope it will help people understand how and why their vision could worsen if they don’t adhere to treatment.”

Karen Osborn, Glaucoma UK Chief Executive said:

“The Glaucoma in Perspective App is a great tool that brings information about glaucoma to a digital audience. We’ve worked in partnership with City, University of London and Allergan to review and improve the information it contains and the design of the app, making it accessible to a wider audience. We hope that the re-launch of the app will help raise awareness of glaucoma and Glaucoma UK, so that people living with the disease and their loved ones know we are here to support them.”

Andrew Stewart, Allergan, an AbbVie company, General Manager, GMCO Eyecare, commented:

“Glaucoma is among the leading causes of preventable vision loss worldwide. Our commitment at Allergan is to drive positive impact and remarkable outcomes in preserving sight in the face of this insidious eye disease. The Glaucoma in Perspective app project is an expression of that commitment and brings the best of our partnership with renowned glaucoma experts, our support of innovative technology and our strong heritage in advancing the cause of eye care.”

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Notes to editors

Contact details:

To speak to Professor David Crabb contact Senior Communications Officer, School of Health Sciences, Shamim Quadir: Tel: 0207 040 8782 email: [email protected]

Alternatively, contact the City, University of London Press Office at [email protected] or on 020 7040 8788.

World Glaucoma Week:

https://www.worldglaucomaweek.org/

Download the Glaucoma in Perspective app:

iTunes (IOS)

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1521237300

Google Play (Android)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.havaslynx.gip

Glaucoma in Perspective app – Images:

Image 1_Glaucoma_in_perspective_app_logo:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2g0xoyp8ixi1itq/Glaucoma%20in%20perspective%20logo.png?dl=0

Image 2_Glaucoma_kitchen:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zvrrytafbf669af/glaucoma_kitchen.png?dl=0

Image 3_Glaucoma_shopping:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9fo6nqav2pc27xv/glaucoma_shopping.png?dl=0

Image 4_Glaucoma_stairwell:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wj1xwkhjetr0eh9/glaucoma_stairs.png?dl=0

More about the Glaucoma in Perspective app

Slide show (pdf):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pel2x28grj5id6j/Glaucoma%20in%20perspective%20slide%20kit.pdf?dl=0

Leaflet (pdf):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/uwlo4zd2eacyiet/ALG_Glaucoma%20leaflet%20v2.4_Global_WB.pdf?dl=0

Visit the Crabb Lab

http://www.staff.city.ac.uk/crabblab/#/

About City, University of London

City, University of London is a global higher education institution committed to academic excellence, with a focus on business and the professions and an enviable central London location.

City’s academic range is broadly-based with world-leading strengths in business; law; health sciences; mathematics; computer science; engineering; social sciences; and the arts including journalism and music.

City has around 20,000 students (46% at postgraduate level) from more than 160 countries and staff from over 75 countries.

In the last REF, City doubled the proportion of its total academic staff producing world-leading or internationally excellent research.

More than 140,000 former students from over 180 countries are members of the City Alumni Network.

The University’s history dates from 1894, with the foundation of the Northampton Institute on what is now the main part of City’s campus. In 1966, City was granted University status by Royal Charter and the Lord Mayor of London became its Chancellor. In September 2016, City joined the University of London and HRH the Princess Royal became City’s Chancellor.

Led by President, Professor Sir Paul Curran since 2010, City has made significant investments in its academic staff, its estate and its infrastructure and continues to work towards realising its vision of being a leading global university: it has recently agreed a new Vision & Strategy 2026.

About Allergan Eye Care

As a leader in eye care, Allergan has discovered, developed, and delivered some of the most innovative products in the industry for more than 70 years. Allergan has launched over 125 eye care products and invested billions of dollars in new treatments for the most prevalent eye conditions, including glaucoma, ocular surface disease, and retinal diseases such as diabetic macular edema and retinal vein occlusion.

About Glaucoma UK

Glaucoma UK is the charity for people with glaucoma. We’re here for people with glaucoma and their loved ones. We campaign to raise awareness so glaucoma is detected early and can be treated, we support people to live well with glaucoma and we fund sight-saving research.

We are a membership organisation, and those living with glaucoma are at the very heart of all we do. We support people to live well with glaucoma by providing a telephone helpline, glaucoma support groups, peer support services and widely acclaimed information booklets.

For more information, please visit our website
http://www.glaucoma.uk

Glaucoma helpline: 01233 64 81 70 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am-5.00pm)

Media Contact
Shamim Quadir
[email protected]

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