Population screening for glaucoma in UK: current recommendations and future directions

Sana Hamid, Parul Desai, Pirro Hysi, Jennifer M. Burr, Anthony P. Khawaja*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Effective population screening for glaucoma would enable earlier diagnosis and prevention of irreversible vision loss. The UK National Screening Committee (NSC) recently published a review that examined the viability, effectiveness and appropriateness of a population-based screening programme for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). In our article, we summarise the results of the review and discuss some future directions that may enable effective population screening for glaucoma in the future. Two key questions were addressed by the UK NSC review; is there a valid, accurate screening test for POAG, and does evidence exist that screening reduces morbidity from POAG compared with standard care. Six new studies were identified since the previous 2015 review. The review concluded that screening for glaucoma in adults is not recommended because there is no clear evidence for a sufficiently accurate screening test or for better outcomes with screening compared to current care. The next UK NSC review is due to be conducted in 2023. One challenge for POAG screening is that the relatively low disease prevalence results in too many false-positive referrals, even with an accurate test. In the future, targeted screening of a population subset with a higher prevalence of glaucoma may be effective. Recent developments in POAG polygenic risk prediction and deep learning image analysis offer potential avenues to identifying glaucoma-enriched sub-populations. Until such time, opportunistic case finding through General Ophthalmic Services remains the primary route for identification of glaucoma in the UK and greater public awareness of the service would be of benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504–509
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Early online date3 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Opticnerve diseases
  • Predictive markers


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