A £25,000 research grant will help to develop a tool to predict the patients most at risk of symptoms of discomfort when using their glaucoma eye drops, leading to medication non-adherence.
The grant was awarded to glaucoma specialist nurse, Liz Trewick, and Professor Rupert Bourne (pictured) by the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) and RCN Research, for a 12-month project.
Ms Trewick, Professor Bourne and fellow, Gil Peretz, will work together to explore the factors that may be affecting patients’ adherence to eye drop medications that are prescribed to treat glaucoma.
Topical glaucoma drugs can irritate the eye, and symptoms can often worsen when patients have underlying dry eye symptoms, Professor Bourne told OT.
“We will be conducting an array of tests on the ocular surface, including the amount of lubrication, the amount of tears that patients produce, the osmolarity and the proteins in the tears,” he outlined.
One “sub-study” in the wider National Institute of Health Research portfolio project will have patients enter into a climate chamber based at the Vision & Eye Research Unit of Anglia Ruskin University, Professor Bourne highlighted.
He explained: “We will be able to make measurements on the surface of the eye in response to different environmental conditions, comparing humidity, wind speed and temperature. We may be able to get a better understanding of how these might make the impact of the disease more of a problem.”
Professor Bourne added: “We are looking to see which are the best signs to discriminate who will have symptoms, and develop a clinical toolkit that clinicians can use as a way of telling which patients are the most likely to develop symptoms [increasing the likelihood of medication non-adherence] in future.”
Commenting on the grant, IGA chief executive, Russell Young, said: “We believe that the results of research such as this can make a real difference to people living with glaucoma.
He added: “All too often the IGA receives calls from people who are having difficulty using their eye drops. The development of an evidence-based clinical tool will help to identify who is at risk, so that clinical support can be allocated and provided.”