A new study has pointed out that glaucoma patients on treatment for the condition have a reduced risk of death.
Glaucoma (a common condition that consists of elevated pressure in the eye, and that can lead to loss of vision) usually affects older adults, who are at risk for co-existing medical conditions that can negatively affect their survival.
Joshua D. Stein and colleagues at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, conducted a study evaluating the relationship between glaucoma medication use and death in 21,506 individuals age 40 or older (average age 60) with glaucoma or suspected glaucoma from January 2003 to December 2007 who were enrolled in a large managed care network.
Glaucoma medication use was defined as filling one or more prescriptions for a 30-day or more supply of the drug during the study period. Deaths were reported by family members, employers or health care professionals and other demographic information was noted at the beginning of the study.
More than half of the patients had suspected glaucoma, the others had one or more types of glaucoma.
"During the study period, 6,049 beneficiaries (28.1 percent) filled one or more prescriptions for a glaucoma medication; 2,021 individuals (9.4 percent) underwent glaucoma surgery," the authors said.
Of the 21,506 patients, 237 (1.1 percent) died during the study. When compared to those with no glaucoma medication use, those using any class of glaucoma medication had a 74 percent reduced risk of death.
The study appears in the February issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.