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Glaucoma

Volume 76: debated on Wednesday 3 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what support his Department is giving to National Glaucoma Action Week from 21 to 27 April, organised by the International Glaucoma Association; if he will increase the facilities for providing glaucoma treatment; and if he will make a statement.

We have been informed of the International Glaucoma Association's initiative in organising a National Glaucoma Action Week from 21 to 27 April, to increase public and professional awareness of glaucoma and we wish them every success. The provision of facilities for treatment of glaucoma must be a matter for individual health authorities, based on their knowledge of local circumstances and priorities.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the number of people suffering from glaucoma in England and Wales; if he is satisfied with the facilities available for treating such patients; if he is satisfied with the methods used to alert patients to the importance of early diagnosis and treatment; and if he will make a statement.

I understand that surveys reported in the medical press suggest that the prevalence of all types of glaucoma within the total population is around 1 per cent., with the following approximate percentages for different age groups:

AgePer cent. suffering from glaucoma
40–50under 1
50–60under 1
60–70under 1
70–80under 3
80–90about 10
Facilities for the detection and treatment of glaucoma are provided in hospital eye departments and are the responsibility of individual health authorities. The present view of the Faculty of Ophthalmologists is that glaucoma screening is cost-effective only for patients at special risk, in particular the first degree relatives of glaucoma sufferers. Opthalmologists would normally advise glaucoma sufferers that their first degree relatives over the age of 40 should be screened.