The future is virtual for glaucoma patients

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Patient participating in virtual session with health coach
The University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science is launching a new pilot program to ensure patients suffering from glaucoma can access the health care support they need through a virtual platform.

In collaboration with NexJ Health Inc., a provider of advanced virtual care solutions for chronic disease prevention and management, the partnership will deliver a new hybrid approach to glaucoma care – including the combination of virtual personalized health coaching sessions alongside in—person visits with their faculty optometrist. Patients will meet virtually with a health coach to address common questions about their glaucoma treatment plan, medications, and lifestyle changes to enhance their quality of life.

The goal of the pilot program is to determine whether personal health coaching is an effective tool in monitoring and managing a patient’s glaucoma care and adhering to treatment. If successful, UWOVS and NexJ Health will work together to scale the virtual care program to enhance access for underserved communities across Canada.

Glaucoma is a common eye disease that irreparably damages the optic nerve. The disease affects Canadians of all ages, and without proper intervention, will lead to irreversible blindness. There is no cure for glaucoma — patients must engage in ongoing management and monitoring of their disease throughout their lifetime to slow the progression and protect their vision.

 “Collaborating with NexJ Health to deliver health coaching is a unique opportunity to improve glaucoma care by increasing patient engagement in the management of their own care,” said Dr. Stanley Woo, director, School of Optometry & Vision Science.