Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of vision loss in the United States.
Currently, 4-7% of the United States population over the age of 40 is suffering from ocular hypertension, one of the leading risk factors of Glaucoma. However, early treatment of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) can greatly reduce the risk for the development of glaucoma. This is especially true for individuals at the highest risk, including:
• Elevated Eye Pressure: Normal eye pressure is 12-21 mm Hg. anything above 21 is considered elevated.
• African Americans: Glaucoma is at least times more common in African Americans than in Caucasians.
• People over the age of 60: The risk of glaucoma rises by as much as six times after the ago of 60.
• Family History of Glaucoma: POAG may be hereditary. Positive family history increases the risk of glaucoma up to nine times.
• Hispanics: Recent studies indicate that the risk for Hispanic populations is about halfway between Caucasians and African Americans.
• Asians: People of Asian decent are at a higher risk for narrow angle or acute angle-closure glaucoma.
• Steroid Use: A 1997 study reported in the Journal of American Medical Association demonstrated a 40% increase in the incidence of ocular hypertension and open-angle glaucoma in adults who require approximately 14 to 35 puffs of steroid inhaler to control asthma.
• Eye Injuries: Injury to the eye may cause secondary open-angle glaucoma.
The Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) Group recently conducted a study comparing the safety and efficiency of earlier and later treatment of ocular hypertension in reducing the risk for POAG. The study examined 1,636 individuals with increased IOP ranging from 24 to 32 mm Hg in 1 eye and 21 to 32 mm Hg in the other eye. The participants were then randomly assigned to observation or to receive topical ocular hypotensive medication.
Medication group: Median duration of treatment was 13.0 years.
Observation group: Median duration of 7.5 years without treatment and then received medication for a median of 5.5 years.
Researchers then compared the cumulative proportion of participants who went on to have POAG in both observation group and in the medication group at a median follow-up of 13 years.
The Results of the Study
• The proportion was 0.22 in the original observation group (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.19 – 0.25)
• The proportion was 0.16 (95% CI, 0.13 – 0.19) in the original medication group (P =. 009), or a 27% reduction in glaucoma risk associated with early treatment.
• The cumulative proportion of participants who went on to have POAG was 0.40 (95% CI, 0.33 – 0.46) and 0.28 (95% CI, 0.22 – 0.34), respectivelcCy.
Still, each patient and each instance of elevated IOP or ocular hypertension must be treated on a case-by-case basis. It is up to the physician to determine whom to treat and whom to observe.
“I try to only begin treatment on someone that truly needs preventative therapy, while not over treating anyone that we can simply monitor and keep safe without treatment,” said board certified ophthalmologist Sam Boles.
If you have any questions about what you have just read or if you would like to learn more about Early Treatment of Ocular Hypertension, please contact board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, consultative optometrist Dr. Nathan Frank, and the eye care specialists at Anne Arundel Eye Center by calling 410-224-2010 or click here to visit AnneArundelEyeCenter.com today!
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Dr. Boles and everyone else at the Anne Arundel Eye Center proudly support the efforts of The Polakoff Foundation and their role in the ongoing fight against glaucoma. Click here to purchase tickets online for the Polakoff Foundation’s Mardi Gras Celebration to help raise money to aid the fight against blindness.
Located in Annapolis, Maryland, the Anne Arundel Eye Center offers comprehensive specialized ophthalmic exams as well as diagnostic pre and post-surgical eye care. Specializing in glaucoma and cataracts, Dr. Boles has helped restore and preserve thousands of patients’ vision.
Glaucoma and Cataracts may be a natural part of aging. Losing your vision doesn’t have to be.
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