£5,000 award for eye research team

A HINCHINGBROOKE-based specialist eye team has won a £5,000 national award for its pioneering treatment of glaucoma. The Huntingdon glaucoma diagnostic and research centre has been awarded second prize in the national Allergan Glaucoma Achievement Awards.

A HINCHINGBROOKE-based specialist eye team has won a £5,000 national award for its pioneering treatment of glaucoma.

The Huntingdon glaucoma diagnostic and research centre has been awarded second prize in the national Allergan Glaucoma Achievement Awards.

The team, led by consultant ophthalmic surgeon Rupert Bourne, is composed of ophthalmologists, nurses, optometrists and orthoptists who have worked together to develop a pioneering regional glaucoma centre and research facility over the past year.

The centre is now one of the best equipped units nationally, according to Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust.


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Dr Dennis Cox, a St Ives GP and PCT member, said: "This is a fantastic achievement for the team, given that these awards are designed to recognise excellence in glaucoma management and work that improves patient care.

"This is a first class example of how hospital and community clinicians can work together to develop leading edge services for local people."

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Key to the success of this initiative is a community glaucoma scheme called CHANGES (Community and Hinchingbrooke Allied Network Glaucoma Evaluation Scheme), which was launched by the hospital glaucoma service working with community optometrists and GPs to increase awareness and enhance the quality of glaucoma detection and management.

Mr Bourne said: "Glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve of the eye and is the world's leading cause of irreversible blindness. It is particularly dangerous as it can harm your vision without your actually realising - the edges of your vision are affected first. Often serious damage has been done by the time the symptoms are detected.

"Having a close relative with glaucoma makes it four times more likely that you too will suffer with the condition. Anyone who has the disease should let their relatives know, so they can have a simple eye test every two or three years. The sight test is free for people over 40 with relatives who have glaucoma.

"Glaucoma is generally treated with special eye drops but can sometimes need surgery or laser treatment to correct it. The earlier it is detected the more successful the treatment is likely to be.

"Only half the people with glaucoma have been diagnosed because of the difficulty in detecting it, lack of awareness and because patients are unaware of a problem until late in the development of the disease".

INFORMATION: Hinchingbrooke Hospital glaucoma department is on 01480 416072.

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