Study Supports Benefit of Widely Used Glaucoma Drug
Prostaglandin analogue eye drops can slow deterioration of vision that comes w ith the disease
THURSDAY, Dec. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Prostaglandin analogue eye drops — a common form of glaucoma drug — significantly reduce the risk of vision loss in patients with the eye disease, a new study finds.
British researchers led by David Garway-Heath, of the Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London, tracked outcomes for more than 500 people newly diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma — the most common form of the disease and one of the leading causes of blindness.
About 45 million people worldwide have this type of glaucoma, and the number is expected to rise to 53 million by 2020 and 80 million by 2040, according to the researchers.
However, they found that the use of latanoprost — a form of prostaglandin analogue eye drops — reduced the risk of vision loss in these patients by more than 50 percent over two years, compared to those who received an inactive placebo.
Dr. Mark Fromer is an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He said that glaucoma is typically treated by interventions that lower the level of pressure within the eye.
“Elevated eye pressure can lead to optic nerve damage, which can harm vision” Dr. Fromer explained,” so glaucoma is most commonly treated with a prostaglandin analogue eye drop to reduce eye pressure.”
The new study shows “that the use of these medications can greatly reduce the risk of visual loss, and a significant benefit in the treatment group could be seen at one year,” Dr. Fromer added.
Prostaglandin analogues are typically the first line in treatment for most glaucoma patients.
In glaucoma, visual loss can only be slowed, not stopped. It is necessary to educate patients that while glaucoma cannot be cured, proper follow up with a trained specialist can slow the progression of the disease, allowing patients to maintain good vision throughout their lifetime.