Researches of Glaucoma

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As a serious ocular disorder, glaucoma has been among the leading causes of vision loss and even blindness in the United States for many years. By causing damage to the optic nerve, this eye disease is quite harmful to human beings’ vision system. A more severe point is that vision deterioration at the early stage of the disease is unnoticeable. When a patient first notices visual field loss, the disease has usually entered its advanced stage. Today, different medications are available for glaucoma control when an early diagnosis is made. Most of the treatments are supposed to control the intraocular pressure in the eye. Another way is to take a surgery, which is suitable for patients with congenital glaucoma.

Medicare payments for glaucoma surgeries decreased

Funded by Alcon Research Ltd., a research analyzed Medicare claims and payments for glaucoma surgery between 1997 and 2006. According to results published in July 2009, the number of glaucoma surgeries was increasing and Medicare payments for these procedures were decreasing. In detail, procedure numbers and Medicare payments were in the decrease from 1997 to 2000. After 2000, glaucoma procedures increased and payments from Medicare for some types of procedures decreased. According to researchers of the study, Medicare payments have long been an important component of the cost of glaucoma surgery. Once these payments from Medicare are cut off, patients will be reluctant to receive newer technologies such as drainage devices. These new surgical techniques cost much more than regular ones.

Pregnant women must be careful of anti-glaucoma eye drops

Glaucoma medications deserve careful evaluation before being prescribed to pregnant women. Beta-blockers that are applied to women during pregnancy can reduce fluid production in the eye. Women who take this medication impose no significant difference in infant’s weight. But other types of anti-glaucoma eye drops taken by pregnant women have been reported to cause higher risks of having low birth weight infants. Optical beta-blockers are the best drug for pregnant women for glaucoma treatment, as concluded by a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

A glaucoma drug turns into cosmetic use

The FDA approved Latisse for cosmetic use in December 2008. Produced by Allergan Inc., the drug was originally used to control internal eye pressure to prevent potential eye damage caused by glaucoma. An unexpected result was that the drug was also found to bring a side effect of thickened eyelashes. After appropriate clinical trials for safety, Latisse has now been launched for cosmetic use. This intriguing effect brought by a glaucoma drug is really exciting for some fashion-conscious women. Lengthening and thickening the eyelashes is a popular way to create an extraordinary look.

Elderly glaucoma patients have impairments of reading skills

Currently, about 2% of Americans above 40 are affected by glaucoma and 10% of them have suspected glaucoma. Some researchers are working hard to find out when and how glaucoma produces disabilities. Researchers at Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University have conducted a study with 1,154 participants of an average age of 79.9, who have been asked to read text aloud. The study shows there is clear impairment in these old people in terms of verbal and general reading skills.