LEADING OFF: Survey Shows Disconnect Between Glaucoma Patients’ Fears and Actions

Stanisic Vladimir/

While most glaucoma patients say they fear losing their vision, ability to drive, live independently and care for themselves due the sight-stealing disease, many confess to missing an eye drop dose, reveals the National Glaucoma Impact Survey, commissioned by the Glaucoma Research Foundation and supported by Aerie Pharmaceuticals.

Specifically, 76% of glaucoma patient respondents say they are “very” or “extremely” worried about losing their vision; 65% report being “very” or “extremely” concerned about losing their ability to drive, among other independence hallmarks; and 37% report being “very” or “extremely” concerned about their ability to care for themselves, the survey shows. Additionally, 64% of glaucoma patients say they are determined to take control of their glaucoma.

Yet, despite these fears, expressed desire to take control of their ocular disease and knowledge that glaucoma may cause blindness (92%), 33% of the 89% of glaucoma patients who say they use IOP-lowering drops, report lack of drop instillation at least two to three times per month.

“I have found that patient adherence is most commonly due to barriers, such as patient understanding/motivation, forgetfulness and poor drop instillation technique,” explains Austin Lifferth, O.D., F.A.A.O., and Optometric Management’s “Glaucoma” columnist. “Fortunately, we can help our patients overcome these barriers by taking time to discuss the clinical findings with the patient (actually showing them their optic nerve photos, OCT scans and/or VF results); recommending they set reminders on their phone, pairing it with their other prescribed medication or simply putting a reminder note in a common location; and taking a few minutes to review proper drop instillation technique while in the office.”

The National Glaucoma Impact Survey was comprised of 1,548 adult glaucoma patients and ,separately, 60 glaucoma-patient family and friends who serve as caregivers.

For additional survey findings, visit . OM