No worse, no better

New study finds no visual field improvement in patients who receive treatment for glaucoma

05 Dec 2016 by Olivia Wannan

Patients with glaucoma need to be cautious in their expectations of better vision following intraocular pressure (IOP)-lowering therapies, after a new study found no evidence for improvement in visual field tests.

The study was designed to analyse the reports from previous research that patients experienced improved vision after commencing treatments that lower IOP.

A total of 255 patients were randomly split into two groups, one that received IOP-targeting treatments and the other that did not receive therapy, in the paper published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Vision Science.

Three months later, the subjects again had a standard automated perimetry test and Goldmann tonometry, and the results were compared.

On average, the study participants’ vision deteriorated, with the treated group recording a smaller visual change, on average, compared to the untreated patients.

Despite a significant difference in IOP between the two groups, the proportion of patients with improved vision was almost exactly the same in both groups, indicating that the treatment had little effect on this.

The researchers wrote that for the groups, which had not received previous treatment: “We were unable to demonstrate any short-term association between therapeutic lowering of IOP and improvement in the visual field.”

Image credit: Rafe Saltman

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