In a partnership with Flinders University (SA) and the Lions Eye Institute (WA), Glaucoma Australia are funding the Targeting At Risk Relatives of Glaucoma patients for Early diagnosis and Treatment study (TARRGET), to increase knowledge and awareness of the increased risk of glaucoma to close family members of those known to be affected. The pilot phase of the study is planned to run for one year, with a further one year extension planned.
If people with glaucoma are diagnosed and treated early in the disease process, there is a much better chance that good vision can be maintained throughout their life. We already know that first degree relatives (children, siblings, and parents) of affected patients are more than 9 times more likely to develop the disease over their lifetime.
The TARRGET program will use new ‘state of the art’ diagnostic approaches to determine what the pick-up rate will be amongst first degree relatives, when starting with a family member who already meets the criteria of Australian & New Zealand Registry of Advanced Glaucoma (ANZRAG) for advanced field loss in a least one eye.
The investigators will randomly select 200 cases of open angle glaucoma from ANZRAG across the two study sites, and then offer a free comprehensive glaucoma screening test for any of their first degree family members over the age of 40 (younger in certain instances). The plan is to include all close relatives, whether they have previously been seen or not, and whether they believe they are affected or not. This should provide a clear answer as to how effective the new screening strategies could be if they were applied more widely.
A study such as this can help to advocate for changes to Government policy so as to improve access and affordability for effective glaucoma screening strategies.