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The Administrative Data Research Network is an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 - July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, to be launched later in 2018.

Social factors influencing glaucoma treatment persistence in the Northern Ireland population

Research overview

The research team aims to investigate what prevents people from persisting with daily eye drops to treat glaucoma, and thus slowing down the disease’s progression towards serious sight loss.


Public benefit

Glaucoma is one of the most common preventable forms of blindness both globally and in the UK. Identifying what influences people not persisting with their treatment will help to design treatments which will work for high-risk groups.

More about the project

Glaucoma is one of the most common preventable forms of blindness both globally and in the UK. It occurs when raised pressure within the eye causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve. Routine eye examinations are the primary means of early detection through disclosure of raised intraocular pressures, even though no symptoms may be present. Progression of glaucoma towards serious sight loss can be slowed considerably by a treatment regime of daily eye drops which reduce intraocular pressures.

However, persistence with treatment over extended periods is poor; a recent large study in the US indicated that only 60% of new patients had continued treatment over a 12 month period and only 10% had no interruptions in treatment during the entire period. Poor adherence to and persistence with glaucoma medication has been associated with a range of factors related to the patient, healthcare provider, type of medication and environment but existing studies of treatment persistence have focused primarily on the influences of medication type or frequency of interactions with healthcare providers.

We aim to investigate the influence of patient characteristics and especially social context (family structure, deprivation etc.) on glaucoma treatment persistence.

We will link a detailed set of contextual information at the individual, family and area levels drawn from the 2011 Census with records of filled prescriptions drawn from the Northern

Identifying factors associated with low glaucoma treatment persistence is an initial step towards designing interventions to increase persistence in high risk groups.


Date approved

March 2016

Project team:

Dr David Wright, Queen’s University Belfast, Administrative Data Research Centre – Northern Ireland

Dr Mark Holloway,  Moneymore Medical Centre/Mid-Ulster Hospital

Dr Ruth Hogg, Queen’s University Belfast 

Dr Dermot O’Reilly, Queen’s University Belfast, Administrative Data Research Centre – Northern Ireland

Professor Augusto Azuara-Blanco, Queen’s University Belfast

Page last updated: 24/10/2017