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Drugs. 2006;66(8):1033-9.

Treating ocular hypertension to reduce glaucoma risk: when to treat?

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  • Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30310, USA. FCWEJH6786@aol.com


When to treat the patient who presents with ocular hypertension has been a question that has 'stumped' the ophthalmic community for decades. Population-based studies and intervention trials have provided the basis for understanding why we consider treating such patients. Although the EGPS (European Glaucoma Prevention Study) did not demonstrate that reducing intraocular pressure (IOP) with dorzolamide prevented the onset of glaucoma compared with individuals receiving a placebo, the investigators of the OHTS (Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study) found that the treatment of ocular hypertension can be delayed with topical medication when treated patients were compared with an observation group. There are differences in inclusion criteria, study design and retention rates between the EGPS and the OHTS, which may have led to the discrepancies in outcomes between these two studies. These differences provide a basis for understanding the relevance of the findings of both trials to clinical practice. The clinician should consider key risk factors such as age, thin corneal thickness measurements, large cup-to-disc ratio and mean IOP when determining who should be treated. However, the ultimate decision of when to treat will be determined by other issues such as life expectancy, the general health of the patient and the number of risk factors. Clearly, the treatment of only high-risk patients with ocular hypertension should be considered.

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