• London School of Hygeine & Tropical Medicine logo

Glaucoma: A Public Health Approach to Preventing Blindness

Develop a public health understanding of glaucoma, its lifelong management, and raising awareness for better quality eye care.

1,849 enrolled on this course

A male physician examining a elderly males eyes, to see if there are any signs or symptoms of glaucoma

Glaucoma: A Public Health Approach to Preventing Blindness

1,849 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Explore pathways to strengthen glaucoma eye care services

Glaucoma relates to a group of eye conditions characterised by optic nerve damage and visual field loss, resulting in irreversible blindness. It reduces physical, emotional, and social wellbeing as well as overall quality of life.

On this four-week course from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, you’ll learn all you need to know about glaucoma and the public health approach to service provision and reducing the risk of disease progression.

You’ll explore how early detection and treatment is crucial in helping to prevent blindness and how to raise awareness within ophthalmic services. You’ll also unpack the challenge of delivering accessible and affordable high-quality eye care in preventing disease progression.

Analyse and evaluate methods of diagnosis for glaucoma

Working with experts in glaucoma, you’ll learn from their experience of delivering glaucoma services to those affected across a wide range of settings internationally.

You’ll also learn how glaucoma is investigated, diagnosed and managed across different resource settings.

Explore the management options and challenges for glaucoma

There are a number of diagnostic and treatment challenges associated with a lifelong disease like glaucoma.

You’ll assess the diagnostic guidelines and methods of management for open and closed-angle glaucomas. You’ll also learn to recognise treatment challenges faced at patient and health systems levels.

Learn how to advocate for access to good eye care to improve quality of life

Glaucoma can remain undetected for many years, leading to late presentation and high risk of blindness.

You’ll examine the key components of a glaucoma eye care programme and advocate for the resources, training, and infrastructure requirements within different levels of health services.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness globally. The glaucomas are a group of diseases that progressively damage the optic nerve and affect the visual field. Glaucoma is sometimes called the “silent thief of sight” because it is a slow, progressive condition. It is often only detected when a person experiences changes to their vision, at which point significant damage to the eye has already taken place. In 2020. It was estimated that more than 76 million people worldwide were affected by glaucoma, and this number is expected to increase to over 111 million by 2014 disproportionately affecting people in Africa and Asia.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds Data from eye health surveys has revealed that more than 50% of people found to have glaucoma had not been previously diagnosed or treated, even in high resource settings. Glaucoma is a lifelong condition with far reaching consequences for the individual, their families and communities. Diagnosis of glaucoma is difficult in any context. Access to eye care is essential for regular eye examination and prevention of blindness. This is a significant challenge across many low resource, rural and remote settings. Programmes need to establish pathways and assign resources for early diagnosis so as to prevent late presentation and irreversible vision loss from glaucoma. This requires trained personnel and equipment to measure intraocular pressure, undertake visual field testing and optic nerve head assessment.

Skip to 1 minute and 53 seconds This four week course has been developed in collaboration with glaucoma experts and will equip participants to understand how evidence has shaped our clinical practice of glaucoma. We will examine the challenges and opportunities for strengthening glaucoma management at a service and programme level. Join us as we explore what is the glaucoma? How big is the problem globally? What are the key risk factors? What are the diagnostic requirements? And how has evidence shaped management of glaucoma? We present a range of context specific examples and case studies from around the world to investigate this complex disease and understand the challenges for accessible and equitable service delivery.

Skip to 2 minutes and 46 seconds This course is for ophthalmologists, optometrists and all eye care providers engaged in the provision of glaucoma services. It is also relevant for medical practitioners and our health systems managers.


  • Week 1

    What is glaucoma and why is it important?

    • Welcome to the course & Week 1

      A welcome to the course from the teaching team and an initial opportunity to introduce yourself. Activities look at how we understand glaucoma and its impact on individuals and eye health services

    • What is glaucoma?

      Glaucoma is a general term used to describe a group of eye disorders that damage the optic nerve.

    • The global burden of glaucoma

      Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness globally.

    • Impact of glaucoma and public health approaches

      Glaucoma patients often present very late with irreversible vision loss which has far reaching impact on them, their families and the outcome of treatment.

  • Week 2

    Investigating and monitoring glaucoma - the patient care pathway

    • The importance of investigating glaucoma

      Glaucoma diagnosis is a complex process as it produces no signs until it affects the eye and causes a loss of vision partially or entirely.

    • Key investigations for glaucoma

      Gonioscopy is essential to determine if the the patients has an open or closed iris-corneal angle.

    • Decision making for glaucoma

      Decisions about the diagnosis are made based on findings from essential investigation of the eye and its function and this will guide the Ophthalmologist on the severity of the glaucoma and how often the patient needs to be seen.

    • Webinar

      Glaucoma experts discuss their challenges and share their views on technologies and services that need to be implemented to address the growing burden of vision loss from glaucoma.

  • Week 3

    Delivering a glaucoma eye care programme

    • Glaucoma services: patient and provider perspectives

      Across all health services a relationship is established between the patients and the health provider. For glaucoma care this relationship is lifelong.

    • Key components of a glaucoma service

      Service provision and referral pathway alignment is an important consideration for glaucoma management

    • Programme approaches for service delivery and patient support

      Patient support and counselling has to be integral to the glaucoma programme and lifelong management for the patients.

  • Week 4

    Management of glaucoma

    • Primary open-angle glaucoma: Who to treat and how

      The aim of glaucoma care is to preserve and promote the quality of life of a person.

    • Treatment options for open-angle glaucoma

      Treatment can be medical, surgical or lasers for glaucoma on their own or in combination to address the specific requirements for every patient.

    • Recognising and treating angle-closure glaucoma

      Iridocorneal angle closure is the fundamental problem in primary angle-closure glaucoma, while elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is a consequence of angle closure.

    • Managing the consequences of glaucoma and related vision loss

      The negative impact of blind, painful eyes due to glaucoma on patients' quality of life cannot be underestimated

    • Course summary

      Glaucoma management is lifelong. The public health approach is to develop a close link between the patient and the health system to prevent blindness.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the definition of glaucoma and be aware of the classification types and subsets of glaucoma
  • Evaluate the public health challenges, epidemiology and risk factors for the main types of glaucoma, both open and closed angle.
  • Interpret the relevant anatomy of the eye and the pathophysiology of both open and closed angle types of glaucoma.
  • Explain the natural history of glaucoma, associated symptoms, clinical features and vision loss.
  • Assess the impact (psychological, physical, socioeconomic) of visual loss from glaucoma on the patient, their family, the wider community and the health system.
  • Critique the approaches and challenges to raising awareness and advocacy for glaucoma.
  • Discuss the treatment options and decision making pathways for open and closed angle glaucoma.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for ophthalmologists, ophthalmic nurses, and medical practitioners working in eye care.

You may also find this course interesting if you specialise in other fields of medicine, if you’re a student of medicine or an NGO personnel.

Who will you learn with?

Associate Professor in International Eye Health. Ophthalmologist and Educator, focusing on research and education to eliminate avoidable blindness. Academic lead for the Open education for Eye Health

Assistant Clinical Professor at the LSTHTM, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Mid Cheshire Hospitals UK (Glaucoma/Cornea) & Medical Editor of the Community Eye Health Journal

Who developed the course?

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a world leader in research and postgraduate education in public and global health. Its mission is to improve health and health equity worldwide.

Ways to learn

Buy this course

Subscribe & save

Limited access

Choose the best way to learn for you!

$134/one-off payment

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews


Fulfill your current learning needDevelop skills to further your careerSample the course materials
Access to this courseticktick

Access expires 16 Jun 2024

Access to 1,000+ coursescrosstickcross
Learn at your own paceticktickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Continue & Upgrade

Cancel for free anytime

Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 16 Jun 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...