What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye condition that can be caused by having excess fluid pressure in the eye. This can cause damage to the nerves at the back of the eyes which can lead to visual defects if left undetected or untreated.
What is ocular hypertension (OHT)?
Ocular hypertension (OHT) is the name given to the condition where the pressure in the eye is higher than normal, but where there are no other signs of glaucoma. In many cases OHT may be monitored without needing treatment, but in some cases OHT may be treated, usually with eye drops, to lower the pressure to a satisfactory level.
What is the OHT and glaucoma suspect monitoring service?
It is a free service designed to allow patients to be monitored by a local optometrist rather than needing a hospital outpatient appointment.
Who provides the service?
The service is provided by trained community optometrists. You will be contacted by the Referral Management Service (RMS) and given the names of optometric practices in your area that have been trained in this service.
How will I get my appointment?
You will be contacted by the Referral Management Service a few weeks before you need an appointment. You will be given the names of optometry practices that offer the service. The practice you choose will contact you to arrange to have the tests done by an optometrist.
Why am I being referred to this service?
You have been diagnosed by the hospital eye service as having ocular hypertension or being someone who may develop glaucoma. This means that you are more at risk than the average person of developing glaucoma, but this risk is low. It is therefore very important that you have certain tests performed regularly in order to detect any change in your condition as early as possible. Some patients need to be seen every six months, others every 12 to 24 months.
What tests will be performed?
- An eye pressure test (intraocular pressure).
- Optic nerve examination. This may require you to have eye drops which will dilate your pupils to allow a clearer examination - for this reason it is best not to drive to the appointment. For subsequent tests the optometrist will advise if you can drive.
- A visual field test.
What happens next?
If there is no change in your condition and your eye pressure is stable, you will be advised by your optometrist when you need to have your next check-up.
The Referral Management Service will also be informed and will contact you again nearer the time to help you to make your appointment. This will be with the same accredited optometrist whenever possible. Sometimes it may be necessary to repeat either the visual test or the eye pressure test before a decision can be made.
Your optometrist will inform you if this is the case and will arrange the necessary appointment which will usually be within a few weeks. If your optometrist has any concerns following your appointment he/she will discuss the results with the hospital eye service or advise you to be referred back to the hospital.
Does this mean I don’t need to have regular eye tests with my usual optometrist?
No. You should continue to see your regular optometrist as they will be performing many other tests that are not undertaken in the monitoring service. Your regular optometrist will also ensure your glasses are up-to-date.
If you have any queries you can phone the Referral Management Service OHT administrator on 01872 226729 (available 8am to 4pm on Tuesdays and 8am to 4pm on Fridays) or email kccg.RMSOHTAdmin@nhs.net.