Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     

Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     

Allergan gives $300,000 to Glaucoma Australia

21/11/2018By Myles Hume
A $300,000 donation from Allergan will help Glaucoma Australia (GA) expand patient support staff numbers and other services to meet the 12-fold increase in demand it has experienced this year.

The pharmaceutical company’s ‘platinum sponsorship agreement’ will be implemented over three years, ensuring GA can enhance its free service guiding and educating glaucoma sufferers through treatment.

GA CEO Ms Annie Gibbins said the organisation had experienced an “exponential” increase in patients seeking support, rising from 13 referrals per week in January to 160 per week in November. Improved referral pathways, greater use of optical coherence tomography (OCT), and higher rates of detection by optometrists – who now account for 90% of referred cases to GA – have fuelled the demand.

Gibbins expects the funding to generate a higher level of tailored education and additional support staff. The organisation receives no government funding and relies on donations and bequests, often from past patients.

“If we look at projections on how many people we are expecting, we are now able to fund educators to be able to provide phone and email support to patients,” she said.

“We are able to improve the contact, the service, the opportunities we have to discuss treatment regimes; why treatment is important; why follow up appointments are so important, because we know that this impacts their treatment adherence, which therefore saves their sight.”

“We want to eliminate glaucoma blindness. Therefore, we need to see people from the moment they are diagnosed, and we are having a bigger impact with those patients.”
Annie Gibbins, GA

Gibbins said the organisation would provide additional video and learning material to ensure it remained professional and current. An automated communications system for would also improve efficiency.

Background reading: Glaucoma Special Report

GA has recently broadened its focus to encompass early detection of glaucoma, with it being a major factor in preventing irreversible blindness. This includes motivating relatives of glaucoma patients – who are up to 10x more at risk – to attend early and regular testing.

“We want to eliminate glaucoma blindness. Therefore, we need to see people from the moment they are diagnosed, and we are having a bigger impact with those patients over their first couple of years of treatment regime,” she said.

“We know those who leave bequests and those who donate – which are usually people on our database we have helped through their glaucoma journey – very much want us to detect people earlier and prevent their sight being lost, they don’t want people to suffer in the same way they have.”

large leaderboard

In October, Gibbins detailed how GA would achieve this through a four-stage treatment pathway designed to capture everyone, including glaucoma suspects.

She told Insight that the patient support pathway harnesses digital technology and electronic referral systems to promote screening for at-risk individuals, while it also helps link patients with support services and education resources. Along the way patients receive personalised education and support targeted at critical, high-risk periods throughout their treatment.

Meanwhile, Allergan’s Australia and New Zealand managing director Mr Gerry Muhle said: “Allergan is proud to be supporting Glaucoma Australia with this significant commitment and to making a material contribution to earlier detection among other critical resources for people living with this disabling form of eye disease.

“Early intervention along with treatment adherence are key to saving sight in those with glaucoma, and we hope our support can make a meaningful difference in this area.”

The company’s pharmaceutical eyecare range includes seven eye drop products for lowering intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients, while there are other treatments for dry eye, and external eye diseases.

Allergan's director of medical and scientific affairs, Dr George Labib, told Insight he was proud to support GA in making a material contribution to earlier detection, among other critical resources, for people living with the disabling form of eye disease.

“Glaucoma Australia is pivotal in increasing awareness of the disease stage, early diagnosis, early intervention and treat adhesion,” he said.

“We want glaucoma patients to get the treatment in time, and avoid blindness, so the partnership with Glaucoma Australia was a ‘no brainer’.”


More reading:

The ever-increasing cost of glaucoma
Plotting a course along the treacherous glaucoma pathway


large leaderboard

Editor's Suggestion
Hot Stories

AFT Pharmaceuticals


Subscribe for Insight in your Inbox

Get Insight with the latest in industry news, trends, new products, services and equipment!