An app has been established which simulates the vision of a patient suffering with glaucoma and for the first time allows other patients and health care professionals to experience the condition through their own eyes.
Developed by MSD UK, in partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital and the International Glaucoma Association (IGA), the app is available to download via iTunes.
Consultant ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, Nick Strouthidis, said: "Many people with glaucoma won't realise that there is a problem until the disease is advanced, which can lead to irreversible blindness in some patients. Fortunately though, early detection and effective treatment can prevent such serious outcomes. It is essential that doctors, optometrists and specialist nurses involved in glaucoma care engage and empower their patients. We anticipate that this unique educational tool will be highly effective."
Clinicians are encouraged to show the app to their patients and their carers to demonstrate the effects of glaucoma on vision.
Moorfields Eye Hospital hopes that the app will increase patients' understanding of the disease, but also result in increased awareness of the condition amongst the public.
Deputy chief executive of the IGA, Russell Young added: "The rising popularity of tablets and smartphones in the UK means that patients and their families are increasingly in the driving seat in glaucoma management. This new free simulation app has the potential to ensure better awareness of this under recognised and tragic condition, and we urge people to download it today."
The app can be downloaded by visiting https://itunes.apple.com and searching for Glaucoma SIM.