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October 10, 2019 - Allergan, a global pharmaceutical company based in Dublin, Ireland, today announced a national education campaign called “My Glaucoma.” The campaign is designed to help people understand the burden of living with glaucoma and empower those with the disease and their caregivers to feel comfortable speaking with their doctor about a treatment regimen that fits their lifestyle.
The resources available on the website www.MyGlaucoma.com are supported by a new survey of patients living with glaucoma and eye doctors, conducted in collaboration with Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), that found more than 75 percent of patients worry about vision loss because of the disease, but nearly half consider glaucoma to be only somewhat or not serious. Research published by the American Journal of Ophthalmology suggests that 27 percent of patients with glaucoma are estimated to go blind in one eye over a 10-year period.
“Glaucoma is clearly a national health issue and one that is overlooked in favor of other diseases perceived as more critical,” said Thomas M. Brunner, President and CEO, Glaucoma Research Foundation. “Given the potential for vision loss, it is increasingly important that we highlight the seriousness of glaucoma, the emotional toll it takes on those living with the disease every day and the importance of doctor-patient communication. As we mark this year’s World Sight Day, we are proud to partner with Allergan to magnify this data for the general public and offer resources that help preserve people’s sight,” Mr. Brunner said.
“Our perception of glaucoma must change from one that characterizes the disease as ‘part of getting old’ to one that reinforces its severity and the importance of active treatment,” said Ramin Valian, Vice President, Allergan Interventional Glaucoma. “Our interactive website and partnership with the eye care community and Glaucoma Research Foundation is a major step forward in ensuring patients and their caregivers feel comfortable and confident taking greater control of their glaucoma in the doctor’s office and at home.”
Allergan sought to listen to the voices of patients with glaucoma and eye care professionals to put together meaningful resources that everyone living with glaucoma can benefit from. The interactive website offers access to videos that include perspectives from patients living with glaucoma and their caregivers, more information from the survey and patient resources, such as a conversation guide and facts about glaucoma diagnosis and treatment.
“More than 3 million Americans are estimated to be living with glaucoma. As such, it is vital patients keep an open-line of communication with their eye doctors about struggles they may be having with their glaucoma and treatment routine, as well as what they may be experiencing emotionally,” said Sahar Bedrood, MD, PhD, Glaucoma Specialist at Acuity Eye Group and
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, USC Roski Eye Institute. “A patient should not hold back discussing their challenges, as every piece of information can be important to customize their care and lessen the burden of the disease.”
In an online survey commissioned by Allergan, in collaboration with Glaucoma Research Foundation, of 500 glaucoma patients and 100 eye doctors in the United States, results showed that glaucoma takes a significant emotional toll on people with the disease, as 4 in 5 glaucoma patients admit that they worry about how their lifestyle will change as a result of the disease. Additionally, there is a need for a more proactive two-way dialogue between eye care doctors and patients, especially around treatment, as patients stated current treatment options cause disruption in their lives. Almost 9 in 10 eye doctors wish their patients would take their medication as prescribed. Specifically, 79 percent want their patients to tell them if they’re struggling with it.
Glaucoma is one of the primary causes of irreversible vision loss and blindness. An estimated 70 million people globally are living with glaucoma. This progressive disease is characterized by elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). Uncontrolled, elevated IOP causes damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision. Reduction of elevated IOP is the only proven way to slow the progression and vision loss associated with glaucoma.
Current treatments to lower IOP include topical medications (eye drops), laser trabeculoplasty, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery and incisional surgery. Eye drop medications are the standard first-line treatment for open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, but low patient adherence to these medications is common - up to 80 percent of patients are not using topical medications as prescribed. Poor adherence to glaucoma medication could result in disease progression and vision loss. According to a study published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, up to 59 percent of patients on treatment for glaucoma continue to progress, meaning they experience vision loss and damage to the optic nerve.
As a leader in eye care, Allergan has discovered, developed, and delivered some of the most innovative products in the industry for more than 70 years. Allergan has launched over 125 eye care products and invested billions of dollars in new treatments for the most prevalent eye conditions including glaucoma, ocular surface disease, and retinal diseases such as diabetic macular edema and retinal vein occlusion.
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.
Last reviewed on October 10, 2019