|« Light Smoking Linked to Increased MI And Mortality Risk||Helping to Control Hepatitis C with Diet and Exercise »|
STUDY: Early treatment to reduce pressure in the eye can slow the progression of glaucoma.
JOURNAL: Archives of Ophthalmology 2002;120:1268-1279
AUTHORS: Dr. Anders Heijl
ABSTRACT: Early treatment to reduce pressure in the eye can slow the progression of glaucoma, according to a new study.
COMMENTARY: The study is the first "definite proof" that lowering intraocular pressure early in glaucoma can slow the deterioration caused by the disease.
But he cautioned that the encouraging results of the study "do not mean that all glaucoma patients should receive maximum treatment." He noted that since glaucoma did not progress for several years in some patients who did not receive treatment, it is "reasonable" to delay treatment in some low-risk patients "and instead follow them closely as long they show no worsening of their disease."
Glaucoma was less likely to progress in patients who underwent treatment, and when the disease did advance, it did so later than in untreated patients. During the study, glaucoma progressed in 45% of treated patients compared with 62% of untreated patients. On average, progression occurred 18 months later in the treatment group than in the control group.
Even though the study demonstrated the benefits of early treatment, Heijl noted that "disease progression rates vary very much between individual patients. Treatment and follow-up must therefore be tailored to the needs of the individual patient." He said that newly diagnosed patients should probably be followed for signs of progression more closely than is common today.
Talk over your treatment options with you doctor.