Most people at risk for developing glaucoma due to high eye pressure do not need treatment, at least in the early stages.
These are the findings of a scaled multicenter study, and they could be just the beginning of a new approach to Ocular Hypertension research and it's treatment.
The study, which is now placed in archive but ran for fifteen years included participants aged between forty and eighty who displayed elevated eye pressure but no evidence of glaucoma.
For the first seven years of the study, fifty percent of the subjects received eye drops. The other half were closely monitored but received no medication. This earliest phase determined that drops could reduce the development of the potentially blinding disease by more than fifty per cent.
After the first phase of the study, researchers put the entire group onto eye drops, and now they have determined that in patients at lower risk, there wasn’t much difference between those who started using eye drops in 1994 and the original control group, who didn’t get drops until over seven years later.
Among those at low risk, seven percent in the early treatment group did develop glaucoma. Only eight percent of the low-risk patients in the delayed treatment group went on to develop the disease.
In contrast, twenty eight percent of high-risk patients in the original treatment group went on to develop glaucoma, compared to 40 percent of the high-risk patients in the delayed treatment group. Fortunately, most people with modest elevations in eye pressure fall into the low-risk group.