The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning publish NICE accredited guidance on commissioning glaucoma services

16 June 2016
Source: The Royal College of Ophthalmologists

Clinical Commissioners are asked to review existing services against the recommendations contained in the new guidance to ensure the most cost effective and resource efficient services are available to meet demand.

The NEW Commissioning Guide for Glaucoma is a resource to assist commissioners, clinicians and managers to deliver successful and efficient hospital eye services (HES) across England and the rest of the UK.  The healthcare recommendations are made on high quality and evidence-based outcomes.

Glaucoma is a common sight threatening disease and if not diagnosed, monitored and treated correctly, can result in severe loss of vision or blindness that is not recoverable. Approximately 10% of UK blindness registrations are related to glaucoma. Successful management of glaucoma requires lifelong monitoring and treatment to prevent or minimise further vision loss; on average a person diagnosed with glaucoma will have one initial visit and 40 follow up visits.

Around half a million people are currently affected by chronic open angle glaucoma (COAG), the most common type of glaucoma and there are over a million glaucoma-related outpatient visits in HES.

To lessen the burden on HES, NICE compliant care setting options for people with glaucoma or at risk of glaucoma include additional provision of commissioned services in the community under appropriately governanced contracting. Fifty per cent of glaucoma in the community remains undiagnosed; previously undetected cases are largely identified at routine sight tests by community optometrists.

Successful management of glaucoma requires lifelong monitoring and treatment to prevent or minimise further vision loss.  On average, a person diagnosed with glaucoma will have one initial visit and 40 follow up visits. It is vital that these follow up appointments are managed effectively and recommendations in the guidance calls for commissioners to ensure capacity to enable ‘access to timely follow-up appointments and specialist investigations’ as set out in NICE Quality Standard 8.

 

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