The PCP's role in chronic open-angle glaucoma.Geriatrics 2009; 64(7):20-8G
Chronic open-angle glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in older adults. Optic nerve damage and the associated peripheral and subsequent central vision loss are irreversible, but early diagnosis and treatment will give patients the best chance to maintain functional vision and quality of life. Primary care physicians can assist with the diagnosis of glaucoma by making appropriate referrals for routine ophthalmic examinations, especially in patients with risk factors for glaucoma. Medication adherence and persistence may also be enhanced by discussing strategies to improve medication use and efficacy in the primary care setting. Recognition of adverse reactions from glaucoma medications and surgeries will allow proper management of these potentially serious conditions. Patients with advanced visual deficits can still benefit from treatment as well as low-vision and supportive care and should be referred for an ophthalmic evaluation. With an understanding of comprehensive glaucoma management, primary care physicians play an invaluable role in assisting their patients with effective and timely therapy that will result in improved outcomes.