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Clinical Studies Verify Importance of Target Pressures

The first study to prove that lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) preserves vision was the Collaborative Normal Tension Glaucoma Study funded by Glaucoma Research Foundation. Many studies since have confirmed the importance of lowering pressure to save vision.

Today, eye doctors and researchers recognize the importance of achieving a target pressure for each person that will halt the progression of his or her vision loss. In fact, people with glaucoma are encouraged to know their own target pressure and to discuss it with their eye doctor.

Target pressure is the level of intraocular pressure that an eye doctor tries to maintain while treating open-angle glaucoma. Keeping the pressure at or below the target level reduces the risk of damage to the optic nerve.


The term “target pressure” was introduced in 1989 by Paul F. Palmberg, MD, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine.

A long-time expert on excess intraocular pressure and glaucoma damage, Dr. Palmberg referred to findings from over 20 years of clinical trials. He said findings from clinical studies demonstrate that treatment to lower IOP to a target level is helpful for people with advanced glaucoma, people with normal tension glaucoma, and those who are newly diagnosed.

Two decades of clinical trials studying the relationship of glaucoma and IOP have provided eye doctors with useful guidance to help choose target pressures in their patients. In his lecture, Dr. Palmberg stressed that because glaucoma is a complicated disease, the clinical judgment of the eye doctor is important, and the appearance of the optical disc may be the best guide to the effect of pressure on the eye.

Last reviewed on October 29, 2017

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