Glaucoma Surgery Negatively Impacts Quality of Life in Early Disease Stages

Published Online: Monday, September 16, 2013
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In patients with early glaucoma, surgery is associated with a lower quality of life (QoL), according to the results of a study published in the June/July edition of Journal of Glaucoma.

Researchers from the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Paletta Guedes Ophthalmological Center, and Santa Casa de Misericórdia Hospital in Brazil recruited 225 adult participants from 2 of their office practices who were receiving either medical or surgical therapy. Participants were divided into those receiving glaucoma medications only (82 participants), those who had received surgical treatment in both eyes but were not currently using medications (47 participants), and those who had undergone glaucoma surgery in either eye and were also using glaucoma medications (96 participants).

QoL data were assessed using the National Eye Institute Visual Functioning Questionnaire (NEI VFQ-25), which included queries on general health, general vision, ocular pain, near and distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, social function, mental health, role limitations, dependency, and ability to drive.

The overall NEI VFQ-25 score for all participants was 68.17, with participants undergoing medical treatment having a better quality-of-life score (78.46) than those who had received surgery (65.85) and those who had received surgery and were also on medications (60.51).

When analyzing by early, moderate, advanced, and end-stage disease, researchers found that surgical procedures reduced QoL scores in participants with early glaucoma, but the procedures did not tend to have the same effect in participants with more advanced disease.

“Our results suggest that diagnosing and performing glaucoma surgery in early-stage glaucoma can have a significant negative impact on the patient’s psychological QoL state,” the researchers wrote.

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