A world first online interactive test for eye care providers aims to decrease the effects of glaucoma through earlier detection. The Glaucomatous Optic Neuropathy Evaluation Project (GONE), a joint initiative of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and Centre for Eye Research Australia, is the world’s first internet-based system for assessing skills in diagnosing glaucoma. Associate Professor Jonathan Crowston, Head of Glaucoma at the Eye and Ear Hospital, said half of the glaucoma cases in Australia go undiagnosed. This is despite the fact that half those with undiagnosed glaucoma visited an eye care provider in the past year.
“We’re not certain why glaucoma is being missed, but it is quite possible key signs pointing to the condition are being overlooked. This project aims to improve eye care providers’ skills at diagnosing glaucoma and thus reduce rates of misdiagnosis.
” Eye care providers in the GONE project are asked to look at 42 online photos of the optic disc in the eye and assess each photo based on nine characteristics to determine the likelihood of glaucoma. Their answers are then compared with a group of Glaucoma experts. Associate Professor Michael Coote, ophthalmologist at the Eye and Ear Hospital, said disagreements between experts and practitioners would help identify which characteristics are not being picked up in the diagnosis process.
“It’s a win-win. We get to see the gaps in people’s knowledge through this feedback and we can set up educational learning tools to improve understanding and professional practice. Although glaucoma can be diagnosed by testing the pressure of the eye, half of people with glaucoma do not have raised eye pressure when they are first seen. We need all eye professionals to see and recognise the sometimes subtle signs of glaucoma by looking at the optic nerve at the back of the eye,” sais Assoc. Prof. Coote.
So far, 182 ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists from 16 countries have completed the assessment. For further information on the GONE Project go to www.gone-project.com.