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Best Glaucoma Treatments Still a Puzzle


One expert not associated with the study gave his reaction.

"We could say for sure there are interventions for lowering intraocular pressure . . . but that had better be true. We didn't need this study to tell us that lowering intraocular pressure tends to slow the progression of disease," said Dr. Louis Pasquale, co-director of the glaucoma center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, in Boston. "What this study is saying is there are many ways of lowering eye pressure and we don't know which one is best for minimizing visual disability and maximizing patient happiness while they're being treated for glaucoma."

Regarding screening for the condition, the task force issued a draft statement -- preceding a final recommendation -- saying it cannot make a recommendation for or against glaucoma screening among adults with no vision problems because of a lack of clear evidence on its benefits and risks.

"Glaucoma is an important problem, but unfortunately we don't know enough to make a recommendation for screening in primary care," Siu said. "We recognize doctors and patients have to make decisions anyway, given imperfect information. We might consider the fact that older and African-American patients have greater risks and should be seen by an eye care professional on a more regular basis."

More information

The Glaucoma Research Foundation offers more information on the types of glaucoma.

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