UCL News


Early global glaucoma detection tested on MPs

6 March 2008


ucl.ac.uk/ioo/" target="_self">UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

Today is the first World Glaucoma Day on Thursday 6 March, and a team of researchers from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology will reveal an exciting new development in the detection of glaucoma to a group of MPs in the House of Commons.

Detecting glaucoma during a standard sight test can be problematic.  The new Moorfields Motion Displacement Test (MDT) is reaching the final stages of development. It utilises a unique software programme to investigate the visual field (peripheral vision), one of three recommended assessments used in the diagnosis of glaucoma. 

Glaucoma is the most common cause of preventable blindness. It is estimated there are 67 million glaucoma sufferers in the world, but over 50 per cent of these are undiagnosed.  This rises to 90 per cent in the developing world.

In the UK, around 500,000 people are affected and half of these are not receiving treatment because they are unaware they have the disease, symptoms of which are not present in the early stages. The aim of this new test is to help tackle the challenge of early global glaucoma detection.

Designed to be effective, affordable and accessible to all, the Moorfields MDT software, which is in the final stages of development, will be run on a standard PC or laptop.  Eventually, it is hoped that it will also be made available to download from the internet, enabling clinicians from all over the world, including those in developing countries, to use it as part of their glaucoma screening systems.

The new MDT screening technology, whose research and development was supported by Pfizer Ltd, is the result of a nine-year partnership between researchers from Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, and a recent new collaboration with the Department of Optometry and Visual Science, City University London.