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The Missing 50%…..

The Moorfields International Glaucoma Symposium was held recently in London.  A whole session was devoted to the “missing 50%”. In essence, study after study has shown that at least 50% of patients with the commonest type of glaucoma are undetected in the community. This applies to all the developed world.  Elsewhere (e.g. in Africa) it may approach 70%. Why is this important?

Well, the hidden 50% or more of patients who have undetected glaucoma are at increased risk of losing vision, as their disease is untreated. Early glaucoma is usually symptom-free, and the question is how we detect these individuals in the community.  The key message is that all individuals should be encouraged to see their optician (optometrist) on a yearly basis as they can easily test for glaucoma.  Men are particularly bad at attending!

Public health campaigns, radio campaigns, and community screening programs in high risk communities may also play a role.