For Immediate Release

Singapore National Eye Centre Leads Multi-National Clinical Trial To Evaluate Optimum Surgery For Glaucoma In Asia

7 November 2017, Singapore - Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. With ageing of the population, glaucoma morbidity will rise, causing increased health care costs and economic burden for a condition in which visual loss, once established, cannot be reversed. Glaucoma affected 60 million people worldwide in 2010 and this number is estimated to further increase to 80 million by 2020[1].

[1] Tham YC, Li X, Wong TY, Quigley HA, Aung T, Cheng CY. "Global prevalence of glaucoma and projections of glaucoma burden through 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Ophthalmology. 2014 Nov; 121(11):2081-90.

The surgical approach for glaucoma disease involves two major techniques: one called Trabeculectomy, the most frequently performed thus also known as conventional surgery, and the other one called tube shunt or drainage implant surgery. It is important to highlight that surgery is reserved for more advanced cases of glaucoma as the majority of patients are managed medically. In the context of Asian glaucoma, there are potential advantages to using tube shunt surgery over conventional Trabeculectomy surgery as post-operative scarring may cause failure of Trabeculectomy. Studies in this area have been limited in this part of the world. This study will be a randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy and safety of placement of a drainage implant, the Ahmed Glaucoma implant against Trabeculectomy in patients with uncontrolled glaucoma who have not undergone previous surgery. This study will be useful in determining the long term surgical outcome, complication rate, and visual function following surgery in an Asian population.

The trial is funded by National Medical Research Council (NMRC) and led by Professor Aung Tin, Deputy Medical Director (Research), Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) and Executive Director, Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), who is the overall Trial Principal Investigator. The Singapore lead investigator is SNEC’s Senior Consultant, Adjunct Associate Professor Ho Ching Lin. Other hospitals involved in Singapore are Tan Tock Seng Hospital and National University Hospital. The trial aims to recruit 300 patients in more than 10 countries across Asia with at least 60 patients from Singapore.

The Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI) is the academic partner and provides support in the operational aspect of this trial which includes data management, analysis and coordination.
This multi-countries trial also showcases the strong partnerships between the key ophthalmic institutions in Singapore led by SNEC with their overseas collaborators to seek for better treatment options for one of the most common eye disease affecting the population in Asia.

The investigators of the study at SNEC and SERI are:

i) Professor Aung Tin
Deputy Medical Director (Research), SNEC
Executive Director, SERI, and
Overall Trial Principal Investigator

ii) Adjunct Associate Professor Ho Ching Lin
Senior Consultant, SNEC, and
Singapore Lead Investigator

The scientific and operational team from Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI), a National Academic Clinical Research Organisation led by Associate Professor Teoh Yee Leong, Public Health Physician and CEO of SCRI

“High quality surgical trials in Ophthalmology are rare in Asia. This is an important multi-centre study to address whether Glaucoma implants are the new gold standard for glaucoma surgery” Professor Aung Tin

“This is the first randomized controlled trial to directly compare the two most widely used and effective surgical modalities in glaucoma when used as the first-line glaucoma surgery in Asian Eyes. The Glaucoma Service in SNEC and SERI is honored to lead this large multi-center trial involving 14 sites in 10 Asian countries. The results of this study will eventually guide surgical treatment decisions for the most prevalent cause of irreversible blindness in Asia and worldwide” Adjunct Professor Ho Ching Lin

“This is an example of a high public health impact investigator initiated trial in Asia. We hope the result of this trial can guide the doctors in Asia on which is the better treatment option for glaucoma patients in Asia”, said Associate Professor Teoh Yee Leong
- END -

About the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)
Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) is the designated national center within the public sector healthcare network, and spearheads and coordinates the provision of specialized ophthalmological services with emphasis on quality education and research.

SNEC is actively involved in clinical trials and research into the causes and treatment of major eye conditions such as myopia and glaucoma. To advance ophthalmic science and service, and to increase opportunities for professional interactions and collaboration, SNEC has also fostered strategic links with leading eye institutions around the world.

For more information about SNEC, visit https://www.snec.com.sg.

About Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI)

The Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) is the national research institute for ophthalmic and vision research in Singapore. Serving as the research institute of the Singapore National Eye Centre, and directly affiliated to the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, as well the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, SERI undertakes vision research in collaboration with local clinical ophthalmic centres and biomedical research institutions, as well as major eye centres and research institutes throughout the world.

SERI’s core facilities are housed in a state-of-the-art complex located at the Singapore National Eye Centre.  Beyond these facilities, SERI has established a comprehensive network of clinician-researchers in SERI affiliated institutions throughout Singapore, including Singapore National Eye Centre, the eye departments at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, National University of Singapore and the National University Hospital, as well as from the Defence Medical Research Institute (DMRI), the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and the Singapore Polytechnic School of Optometry.

For more information about SERI, visit http://www.seri.com.sg.

About the Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI)
Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI) is a National Academic Research Organisation dedicated to enhance the standards of human clinical research. Its mission is to spearhead and develop core capabilities, infrastructure and scientific leadership for clinical research in Singapore. SCRI is a national clinical trials coordination centre that works with National Medical Research Council (NMRC) to assist the Ministry of Health in implementing clinical trials policy and strategic initiatives to support and develop clinical research competencies locally. In driving towards its vision, SCRI collaborates with clinicians to enhance Singapore’s clinical research and strengthen its expertise in executing multi-site, multi-national studies and the development of regional clinical research networks. SCRI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MOH Holdings. http://www.scri.edu.sg