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- Findings from survey of 1,608 Americans suggest that while they are determined to manage the disease, many worry about loss of vision and independence
- Only 53 percent of glaucoma patients report achieving and maintaining their intraocular pressure (IOP) goal, the only modifiable risk factor for glaucoma
- 52 percent of caregivers say caring for a person with glaucoma impacts their lives constantly or frequently
- Glaucoma Research Foundation commissioned survey with support from Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
SAN FRANCISCO, September 5, 2019 - Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), a national non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for glaucoma, announced results from a national survey designed to assess the impact of glaucoma on patients and caregivers, as well as to identify their information and support needs.
Survey findings reveal that glaucoma impacts patients and their caregivers on a daily basis, and that many patients struggle to effectively control their disease.
“The information, support services and treatments available to glaucoma patients have increased markedly in the past several years, but we know anecdotally that patients and caregivers still have difficulty managing the disease, its practical implications and their fears related to it,” said Andrew Iwach, MD, GRF board chair and executive director, Glaucoma Center of San Francisco. “This survey helped us quantify current patient and caregiver experiences so that we can continue finding new ways to reduce the burden of the disease for everyone and to improve patients’ outcomes.”
A total of 1,548 adult glaucoma patients and separately, 60 glaucoma-patient family and friends who serve as caregivers, completed GRF’s National Glaucoma Impact Survey. Overall, findings confirm that glaucoma has a daily impact on the majority of patients and caregivers - not only because of the practical issues caused by medication management and vision loss, but also because it creates anxiety, fear and even depression for many.1
In addition to the emotional impact of glaucoma, patients report that they have difficulty controlling their disease and are dissatisfied with their prescription eye drops - the most commonly used glaucoma treatment.
“It is alarming but not surprising that only about half of patients are able to keep their intraocular pressure under control,” said Thomas Brunner, GRF president and CEO. “The glaucoma community is clearly doing a good job educating patients about the importance of IOP, and as the list of available medications and new surgical procedures continues to grow, we will have a greater opportunity to individualize glaucoma therapy and improve outcomes. Now we need to identify and address the remaining, individual barriers to effective disease management and patient engagement so that we can help reduce patients’ anxiety while better protecting their vision.”
Most patients feel well cared for by their glaucoma doctors and are aware of key facts related to the disease. However, survey findings suggest that both patients and caregivers could benefit from more information about new treatment options.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to help GRF and the glaucoma community better understand the current needs of glaucoma patients and their caregivers,” said Richard Lewis, M.D., chief medical officer, Aerie Pharmaceuticals, and a practicing glaucoma specialist. “The results make our shared objectives clear. As the population ages and more people are diagnosed with this disease, the ongoing search for more effective treatments must be accompanied by enhanced support services to reduce the daily burden of living with glaucoma.”
Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), with support from Aerie Pharmaceuticals, commissioned a national survey of glaucoma patients and caregivers to determine the personal impact of the disease as well as current support and information needs. Outcomes Insights conducted the survey on behalf of GRF between March 4 and March 22, 2019. A total of 1,548 glaucoma patients and separately, 60 glaucoma-patient caregivers, completed the survey. All survey participants were age 18 or older. The median age for glaucoma patients who responded to the survey was 67.4 years. The typical caregiver was 60 years old, female and had been caring for someone with glaucoma for 10 years or more.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, and vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible. Currently there is no cure, and everyone is at risk for developing this blinding disease. It is estimated that by 2040, 111 million people worldwide will have glaucoma.
Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for glaucoma. For more than 40 years, Glaucoma Research Foundation has worked to advance sight-saving research and provide essential educational resources for patients. It funds critical research into glaucoma treatment, vision restoration, and a cure for glaucoma. It is also the leading source of information for glaucoma patients and their families.
The National Glaucoma Impact Survey was supported by Aerie Pharmaceuticals.
Sam Brown Inc.
1 Patient survey results are generalizable to Americans with glaucoma who met the survey entry criteria. Caregiver results are directional only, i.e., the sample size (n=60) is too small to be generalizable to all glaucoma-patient caregivers in the United States.
2 Coleman AL, Kodjebacheva G. Risk Factors for Glaucoma Needing More Attention. Open Ophthalmol J. 2009; 3: 38–42.
Last reviewed on December 10, 2019