Relieving Eye Pressure May Slow Glaucoma

MONDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with glaucoma who have more rapid visual field change than other patients may benefit from a reduction of pressure within the eyeball, new research suggests.

In the study, 216 patients with open-angle glaucoma were given standard treatment for controlling intraocular pressure (a targeted reduction of 30% or more) and were followed up with re-examination every four months. Patients whose glaucoma continued to progress received treatment to achieve an additional 20% or more reduction in intraocular pressure.

Being older and having abnormal levels of anticardiolipin antibody (which is an antibody directed against a certain protein in the body) were associated with a more rapid rate of visual change. But reducing intraocular pressure appeared to slow the rate at which some of these patients experienced declines in visual field, the study authors found.

While the degree of this slowed rate of decline may not have been clinically significant for some patients, the difference could be significant over 20 years, according to Balwantray C. Chauhan, of Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and colleagues in the Canadian Glaucoma Study Group.

"In younger patients with more advanced damage, this difference is likely to be important," Chauhan and colleagues wrote.

The study was released online Aug. 9 in advance of publication in the October print issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Aug. 9, 2010