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    Big Data transforming glaucoma care, research

    Say good-bye to periodic testing and say hello to data streams–BIG Data streams. From glaucoma testing to diagnostics, treatment monitoring, practitioner and practice benchmarking and clinical research, masses of data are changing the face of glaucoma care.Panel members address questions about big data during the New Horizons in IOP Monitoring, Diagnostics, and Digital Health session

    “The future is one in which we will be reacting to streams of data,” said Robert Weinreb, MD, chairman and distinguished professor of ophthalmology and director of the Shiley Eye Center at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Weinreb moderated a session on “New Horizons in IOP Monitoring, Diagnostics and Digital Health.”

    “The first place we will see this change is with our approach to IOP and continuous monitoring,” he said. “Over the next five years, I see the paradigm changing. New devices and new data will improve our understanding of the disease.”

    Start with diagnosis. Glaucoma is a major cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. People lose their vision because they don’t get treated, said George Spaeth, MD, Esposito Research Professor at Wills Eye Hospital/Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. They don’t get treated because they don’t get diagnosed.

    “In some parts of the world, 80% of people with glaucoma never get diagnosed,” Dr. Spaeth said. “We can address that diagnosis gap using contrast sensitivity testing.”

    Wills researchers have developed an automated contrast sensitivity test, SPARCS, that evaluates visual resolution and acuity, motion perception, on-off changes, and defects in the visual field. The five-minute test is based on contrast gratings in five areas of the visual field, using a standard computer monitor to score contrast sensitivity to assess and localize vision loss.

    SPARCS can distinguish glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and cataract from vision. The goal, Dr. Spaeth said, is to put SPARCS online for self-administration and referral for clinical evaluation as needed.

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