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Results of a trial published in Lancet Global Health this World Sight Day, 14 October 2021, could pave the way for significant improvements in treatment for glaucoma in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The eye condition glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in adults worldwide. Rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are the highest for any world region and are predicted to nearly double by 2040. The study, conducted through a research partnership between Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Moshi, northern Tanzania and the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH), funded by international disability charity CBM and Seeing is Believing, shows that laser treatment could be significantly more effective than eye drops in managing glaucoma, and can be affordable in low-income settings.
This study is the first randomized controlled trial into the use of the laser treatment Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) for patients with advanced glaucoma in Sub-Saharan Africa. It found that SLT, already widely used in high-income countries,successfully reduced eye pressure for significantly more patients in Tanzania in comparison to the standard treatment of timolol eye drops.
Image on top: Glaucoma patient Mushi Ebenezer has a checkup with Dr Heiko Philippin at KCMC (project 393) in Moshi, Tanzania on June 8, 2018/CBM/Hayduk