Many Older Americans Not Treated For Glaucoma
May 10, 2007
Adapted from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Almost one-third of older Americans diagnosed with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) are not treated medically or surgically for the condition according to a study to s study presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The study is the first investigation of glaucoma therapy use in the U.S. to utilize longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of Medicare patients. The researchers examined trends in glaucoma medication use and surgeries among adults aged 65 and older by analyzing data collected from 1992 through 2002 as part of the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS). A total of 3,020 MCBS participants were identified as having diagnosed POAG.
A major finding of this study is that, on average, 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries with POAG did not use any glaucoma medication and did not undergo any type of glaucoma-related surgery in a given study year. Among those patients who did use glaucoma-related medications, the classes of prescription eye drops used changed over the study period, with a substantial increase in the use of prostaglandin analogues.
Lead researcher Joshua D. Stein, MD, MS, from Duke University in Durham, NC, said, “We've known that consistent use of effective medical therapies reduces patients' risk for blindness due to glaucoma yet we found that many patients are not benefiting from the availability of these increasingly effective therapies. An important lesson emerges from this research: We need to do a better job of educating patients and their physicians, as well as health policymakers and insurance-industry leaders, of the benefits of consistent glaucoma therapy.” He concludes, “If we do not learn this lesson, glaucoma will continue to be a leading cause of blindness in older populations.”
View all news updates for glaucoma
Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional, and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Although we take efforts to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information on our website reflects the most up-to-date research. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy.
Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.