The Straits Times (30 March 2017) - Rather than making multiple trips
to the hospital to test their eye pressure,
glaucoma patients at Tan
Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) can
now get the job done at home with
the help of a handheld device.
Assistant nurse clinician Soo Hoo Wai Cheong and Dr Vernon Yong
helping patient Shaun Nathan use a handheld device to measure
his eye pressure. With the
device, which can be used at home,
glaucoma patients do not have to make multiple trips to the hospital
to measure their eye pressure. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
This also makes it easier for doctors
to treat patients, because they
are working with information
gathered over a week instead of a
few separate occasions.
“Eye pressure varies with the
time of day, and from day to day...
so more measurements are better,”
said head of the glaucoma service at
the National Healthcare Group Eye
Institute at TTSH, Dr Leonard Yip.
Glaucoma is a chronic condition
where pressure builds up within the
eye and damages the optic nerve.
Last year, TTSH saw about 6,000
outpatient visits for the condition,
which is the main cause of blindness
The trouble with glaucoma, said
Dr Yip, is that some patients may
be referred to the hospital for high
eye-pressure readings, but do not
have the same problem when readings
are retaken in hospital.
Two to three consultations are
therefore needed before doctors
can confirm whether or not
someone has the disease.
The hospital carried out a 20-patient
trial of the home measurement
device before launching the
loan service in September last year.
Subsidised patients pay $6 a day
to rent the device and need to rent it
for a week on average. Twenty-four
people have rented it so far.
Feedback from patients has been
generally positive, said Dr Yip, with
most people noting that it was easy
to use, painless and safe.
One of these patients is IT operations
specialist Shaun Nathan, 52.
“It was very simple,” he said. “The
only issue was that sometimes you
accidentally move, and so the measurement
might be a bit off.”
He also attended a programme
led by TTSH nurse clinicians to
teach patients more about the medical
condition and how to apply eye
drops. “I had heard about glaucoma
but I didn’t really know how it affects
a person – but during the
course, they explained the good, the
bad and the ugly,” said Mr Nathan.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.