Journal study suggests many glaucoma patients don't take medication properly

May 01, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO - A study that appears in the May edition of Ophthalmology, the clinical journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, shows that as many as 47 percent of patients receiving glaucoma therapy do not comply with their doctor's prescribed medicine regimen. This is in startling contrast to the 90 percent of doctors who believe that their patients are following the prescribed treatment.

"Non-adherence to the glaucoma therapy is probably what causes patients to go blind," said Alan L. Robin, M.D., author of the study and Academy member. "Cost of medications, multiple medications, confusing instructions all contribute to a patient's non-compliance to their therapy."

Dr. Robin refers to a 2003 Harris poll that illustrates this emerging health concern: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that worldwide, fifty percent of patients take medications improperly, at a global cost of more than $100 billion in resulting hospital admissions and lost productivity.

Dr. Robin's study compares medication refill rates for two groups of glaucoma patients. The first group takes a single medication for one year without needing a second medication to control intraocular pressure. The second group takes the same single glaucoma medication for one year, but then a second glaucoma medication is added for an additional year. As soon as a second medication is added, approximately one-half of the second group delayed refilling prescriptions of the first medication by 5 days or more, and 22 percent waited an additional 15 days or more to pick up their pills.

"Non-compliance is a bigger problem then we imagined, and glaucoma therapy is only the tip of the iceberg," added Dr. Robin. "It becomes a life-and-death situation for doctors to educate and motivate their patients on their therapy and with glaucoma; this may lead to visual disability and blindness."

Dr. Robin's study suggests that eye diseases including glaucoma are one of the five conditions at the bottom of the medical condition adherence list. The four other ailments include renal and pulmonary diseases, diabetes, and sleep disorders.
-end-
Dr. Robin is an associate professor at both the Johns Hopkins University Schools of Medicine and Public Health. To schedule an interview with Dr. Robin, or to request a copy of the study titled "Does Adjunctive Glaucoma Therapy Affect Adherence to the Initial Primary Therapy?" please contact the Academy's media relations department at 415-561-8534, or at media@aao.org.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons--Eye M.D.s--with more than 27,000 members. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy's Web site at www.aao.org.

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Related Glaucoma Articles from Brightsurf:

Monitoring glaucoma at home
Glaucoma is a chronic condition that affects cells at the back of the eye.

Study finds novel mechanism that may confer protection against glaucoma
A team of researchers from LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence and the University of Copenhagen provides the first evidence that patients with ocular hypertension may exhibit superior antioxidant protection that promotes resistance to the elevated intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma.

AI-supported test for very early signs of glaucoma progression
A new test can detect glaucoma progression 18 months earlier than the current gold standard method, according to results from a UCL-sponsored clinical trial.

New method gives glaucoma researchers control over eye pressure
Neuroscientists have developed a new method that permits continuous regulation of eye pressure without damage, becoming the first to definitively prove pressure in the eye is sufficient to cause and explain glaucoma.

Glaucoma care in prison inmates
Data fromĀ 82 prison inmates treated in a glaucoma clinic at an academic hospital were used in this observational study to report on how treatment and follow-up, including medication adherence, were are managed.

New glaucoma test to help prevent blindness
Researchers have identified 107 genes that increase a person's risk of developing the eye disease glaucoma, and now developed a genetic test to detect those at risk of going blind from it.

Air pollution linked to higher glaucoma risk
Living in a more polluted area is associated with a greater likelihood of having glaucoma, a debilitating eye condition that can cause blindness, finds a new UCL-led study in the UK.

Long-term statin use associated with lower glaucoma risk
A new study brings the connection between statin use and risk of glaucoma into sharper focus.

Health burden of glaucoma has risen worldwide
The health burden of glaucoma has continuously increased around the globe in the past 25 years, according to an Acta Opthalmologica study.

UAlberta scientists first to pinpoint a cause of pigmentary glaucoma
An international team of researchers has identified a gene responsible for the onset of pigmentary glaucoma, which may lead to new therapies for the condition.

Read More: Glaucoma News and Glaucoma Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.