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Friday / April 19.
HomeminewsSpecsavers Increases its Impact on Glaucoma

Specsavers Increases its Impact on Glaucoma

Specsavers continues to positively impact glaucoma outcomes with a donation of AU$10,000 to Glaucoma Australia following World Glaucoma Awareness Week from 10 –16 March 2019.

During World Glaucoma Week, Australian Specsavers stores with OCT assessed 41,000 patients for glaucoma as part of the standard eye examination, which includes an optical coherence tomography scan, pressure testing and retinal photography. Of the 41,000 patients assessed, more than 530 were referred for ophthalmological care. This referral rate of 1.3% is near the expected glaucoma population prevalence rate based on the Blue Mountains Eye Study.1

Of the 41,000 patients assessed, more than 530 were referred for ophthalmological care

Investment in Glaucoma Delivers Returns

Over the past 12 months, Specsavers has made a concerted effort to continuously improve detection and management of glaucoma across its partner network with the installation of optical coherence tomography (OCT), the introduction of the Oculo referral platform, which streamlines the exchange of clinical communication between eye health professionals, as well as benchmarking and professional training.

Speaking of the direct results of this investment in glaucoma detection and management, Dr Ben Ashby, Director of Optometry Professional Advancement at Specsavers said, “Our optical staff have performed more than one million OCT scans over the last 12 months, and this rate is set to increase as we continue our rollout of OCT technology across our Australian network. In our Australian and New Zealand OCT stores, approximately 7,100 patients are being assessed for glaucoma and other sight threatening eye diseases on an average day.

“The consistent use of OCT to perform structural assessment on every patient, combined with functional testing when clinically indicated, has resulted in a significant improvement in the number of glaucoma patients being detected and referred to ophthalmology. The doubling of the glaucoma detection rate in Australia is evidence of the measurable improvement our optometrists are having in uncovering the 50% undiagnosed glaucoma cohort that has remained elusive for so long,” said Dr Ashby.

In Australia, Specsavers has referred an additional 15,000 glaucoma patients to ophthalmology in the last 12 months compared with the previous year, and its glaucoma detection rate has doubled in comparison to national norms.

Referrals to Glaucoma Australia on the Rise

As a result of increased detection rates, Annie Gibbins, CEO of Glaucoma Australia said her organisation is receiving significantly more referrals to its service. “We are now receiving more than 50 referrals from Specsavers optometrists each week, and this can be attributed to the systematic e-referral system they now employ in their stores, which ensures no referrals to us slip through the cracks. These referrals, along with Specsavers’ generous World Glaucoma Week donation, will help Glaucoma Australia reach and support even more glaucoma patients, and continue to promote risk awareness as we work alongside optometry and ophthalmology to eliminate glaucoma blindness.”


  1. Mitchell, P, Smith, W, Attebo, K & Healey, PR, 1996, Prevalence of Open-angle Glaucoma in Australia: The Blue Mountains Eye Study, Ophthalmology, 103(10), 1661- 1669. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0161-6420(96)30449-1