• Is Glaucoma Care a Bother? What Patients Really Think

    By Jean Shaw
    Selected by Henry D. Jampel, MD, MHS

    Journal Highlights

    Ophthalmology Glaucoma, January/February 2022

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    Stagg et al. set out to understand the treatment burden experienced by patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). They found that, by itself, the process of glaucoma treat­ment creates a significant burden for many patients. Moreover, they found that this burden can threaten patients’ vision, as it interferes with medication and appointment adherence.

    For this study, the authors conducted interviews with 22 patients with POAG who were recruited from a university clinic. The interviews lasted roughly 30 minutes each, and most were conducted face-to-face. Most of the patients had longstanding glaucoma (>10 years), and 11 of the 22 had severe disease.

    The patients were asked about those activities that pose a burden (e.g., attending appointments, working with insurance companies, and monitoring symptoms and side effects). They also were asked to comment on how these activities impacted their quality of life and to discuss any additional factors that might interfere with medication and appointment adherence. The interviews were recorded, de-identified, and transcribed. The researchers then an­alyzed the transcripts using inductive thematic analysis and grounded theory to generate themes and to map these themes into a conceptual model of glaucoma treatment burden.

    All told, the participants described 10 categories of activities that they consider burdensome, eight themes comprising the consequences of this burden, and 25 additional themes that play a role in their quality of life. The findings suggest that the process of glaucoma care can be burdensome for many—but not all—patients. In addition, the researchers found, those patients who experienced high levels of treatment burden may have decreased quality of life even if they use eyedrops as prescribed.

    The original article can be found here.