A study has shown that a laser-based treatment on newly diagnosed cases of glaucoma is more successful and cost effective than eye drops.

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology carried out the research during a three year trial and assigned 718 glaucoma patients one of the two treatments.

The results showed that patients who had selective laser trabeculoplasty were more regularly at the target intraocular pressure. The treatment could save the NHS up to £1.5 million per year.

Gus Gazzard, consultant ophthalmologist and glaucoma service director at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said: ‘These results strongly suggest that laser should be the first treatment for glaucoma in all newly diagnosed patients and will provoke further interest in its use in patients already on treatment. In the results so far, we’ve already seen eye pressure lowering that has lasted far longer than the older early data had suggested, so we’re excited by the prospect of seeing very long-term pressure control given that glaucoma is a long-term, chronic disease.’

A Moorfields Eye Hospital spokesperson added: ‘This study could make laser a very common experience and high street optometrists will need to understand what the treatment involves to help answer their customers’ questions.’