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Delayed Ocular Hypertension Treatment Ups Glaucoma Risk

Study suggests those at high risk may benefit from early treatment

WEDNESDAY, March 10 (HealthDay News) -- Delaying treatment for ocular hypertension results in a higher incidence of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), particularly among those at high baseline risk for the disease, according to a study in the March issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Michael A. Kass, M.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, and colleagues conducted a study of 1,636 patients with intraocular pressure of 24 to 32 mm Hg in one eye and 21 to 32 mm Hg in the other, who were randomized to receive topical ocular hypotensive medication for a median 13 years or to undergo observation for a median of 7.5 years followed by medication for a median of 5.5 years.

When the researchers compared the two groups, they found the cumulative proportion of participants in the observation group who developed POAG was 0.22 compared to 0.16 in the earlier treatment group, and that those at highest baseline risk of developing the condition were more likely to do so.

"We believe individualized assessment of the risk of developing POAG will be useful to patients and clinicians for deciding on the frequency of examinations and tests as well as the possible administration of preventive treatment," the authors write. "Clinicians need to consider the patient's age, health status, life expectancy, and personal preferences when making such decisions."

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