Health Partners Optical and SeonixBio partner to fight glaucoma.

Posted: Dec 14 2023

Health Partners Optical is the first in Australia to offer genetic risk prediction of glaucoma in optometry.

Health Partners Optical are proud to partner with Adelaide start-up SeonixBio to provide members with an early access program for genetic glaucoma risk identification developed using state-of-the-art South Australian research.1

Often known as ‘the silent thief of sight’, glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.6 By age 40 about 1 in 200 have glaucoma, rising to 1 in 8 by the age of 80.2,3

Professor of Ophthalmology at Flinders University Professor Jamie Craig with CEO of SeonixBio Dr Nick Haan who specialises in Clinical Genetic testing and their teams have created a polygenic risk score assessment tool to assist with earlier management of Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (referred to as ‘glaucoma’ throughout this article).

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye condition in which loss of vision results from optic nerve damage, most often due to increased pressure within the eye. Find out more about glaucoma.

Why is early diagnosis important?

The polygenic risk assessment service is important as early vision loss often goes unnoticed until a significant amount of damage to the optic nerve has already occurred. Early diagnosis means appropriate prevention measures and treatment can start earlier.3,4

The sophisticated genetic test would allow Australia “to take a lead in this field… there is enormous potential to save sight” says Professor Jamie Craig.

How does the test work?

The DNA test is looking at thousands of genetic variants in your genome to create a personalised polygenic risk score for glaucoma which estimates your genetic risk of developing glaucoma in the future or if you already have it, the risk your glaucoma might get worse relative to others in the community with similar ancestry.5

Who is the test for?

  • People with glaucoma
  • Family members with glaucoma
  • Your optometrist mentioned you are presenting signs you could develop glaucoma in the future

How will my optometrist use this information?

Your optometrist will take your polygenic risk score and with other clinical information consider:

  • How often a person should be checked for glaucoma
  • Whether a person is best monitored in optometry or ophthalmology
  • The age for a person’s first glaucoma check
  • The best management plan including treatment decisions
  • Whether blood relatives should be checked for glaucoma

How do I get tested?

Make a time with one of our optometrists who can determine if you would be a suitable candidate for the test.

Self-testing take home kit

The test is a simple self-test kit, swabbing each side of your lower gums 10 times. It isn’t intrusive or uncomfortable. You can perform the test in the comfort of your own home, or your optometrist can perform the test at your appointment. It is then sent off to a laboratory in Victoria for the results.

When can I take part?

The program started on 4 December 2023, speak to your Health Partners Optometrist for more information. All of Health Partners’ optometrists are trained in the test, collection of samples and advising on the risk of glaucoma.

How much does it cost?

This test is not covered by Medicare or private health insurance. Call 1300 115 115 for information about the cost of the test.

Find out more about SeonixBio and their work.

Learn more about early risk detection for glaucoma

1Pub Med, 2020, Multi-trait analysis of glaucoma identifies new risk loci and enables polygenic prediction of disease susceptibility and progression, retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31959993/

2Glaucoma Australia, 2023, What is glaucoma, retrieved from: https://glaucoma.org.au/what-is-glaucoma

3Glaucoma Australia, 2023, Risk Factors for Glaucoma, retrieved from: https://glaucoma.org.au/what-is-glaucoma/risk-factors-for-glaucoma

4Nature, 2020, Multitrait analysis of glaucoma identifies new risk loci and enables polygenic prediction of disease susceptibility and progression, retrieved from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-019-0556-y#:~:text=A%20glaucoma%20polygenic%20risk%20score,common%20glaucoma-associated%20myocilin%20variant

5SightScore2023, ‘Understanding your genetic risk of glaucoma’ [Brochure]

6Pub Med, 2019, Glaucoma: The‘Black hole’ of irreversible blindness, retrieved from:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4723712/#:~:text=It%20is%20extremely%20important%20to,14%25%20of%20total%20blind%20population.&text=However%2C%20in%20terms%20of%20causes,leading%20cause%20in%20this%20group.

Posted: Dec 14 2023

Disclaimer

The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

© Copyright Health Partners. 2024 All Rights Reserved.

Health Partners is committed to providing quality and affordable health care, and we value our members and our obligation to protect your privacy. As part of our responsibility in protecting your privacy, from time to time we review our policies to ensure we are meeting our obligations. We have recently made some updates to our Privacy Policy. Please click here to view the Health Partners Privacy Policy.

Contact Us

1300 113 113 Wed 8am - 8pm

Send us a message

Contact options and opening hours

View all