Glaucoma test goes full circle

Glasgow Caledonian University researchers hope a computer-based test where patients spot the differences between shapes could aid early detection


Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers are developing a new test to aid the early detection of glaucoma.

The new three-year project will trial the use of a computer-based test where patients attempt to spot subtle differences between circles. 

Researchers will observe whether patients with glaucoma have more difficulty detecting variation in the shapes than those without the condition. 

Early lab trials have had promising results, with glaucoma detected through the shape test in both eyes of a patient who previously believed only one eye was affected.

GCU researcher, Michelle Snowball, told OT that glaucoma first caused peripheral vision loss if left untreated. 

A standard test for peripheral vision during a routine eye examination was to show lights of varying brightness at different points in a patient’s visual field, and ask the patient to press a button if the light was seen. 

“Unfortunately by the time a problem with a patient’s visual field is detected by this method up to 40% of the nerve fibres may already be damaged,” Ms Snowball explained. 

“We are hoping to catch glaucoma earlier with the new test, which will also give us a better idea of how people with glaucoma see the world and how best to support them in light of vision loss,” she concluded.