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Common tests for glaucoma can underestimate severity of disease

Researchers caution that focussing on peripheral vision can overlook the presence of central vision loss

Elderly man with a newspaper

US researchers have highlighted that using a variation on the visual field test that better assesses central vision loss can improve the diagnosis of glaucoma.

Writing in JAMA Ophthalmology, Colombia University scientists noted that common tests for glaucoma can underestimate the severity of the disease.

They suggest using a 10-2 visual field test, rather than a 24-2 visual field test, and incorporating ocular coherence tomography results.

As part of the study, scientists examined 33 patients with early-stage glaucoma using the two different visual field measures.

Professor Donald Hood, from Colombia University, said that 24-2 tests often miss or underestimate the damage to central vision.

“In an early study, using the 10-2 visual field we found that over 75% of patients diagnosed with early glaucoma had central vision loss,” he explained.

Professor Hood emphasised that detecting damage to the macular can allow for early diagnosis and treatment to prevent further vision loss.

He has previously presented at the Topcon National OCT Conference in London, where he discussed his research with OT.