Purpose — To investigate patient-level factors associated with first-line glaucoma therapy with laser trabeculoplasty (LT) versus topical medication.
Design — Population-based study.
Participants — All patients 66 years of age and older in Ontario, Canada, receiving first-ever therapy for glaucoma with either LT or topical medication between April 1, 2007, and March 31, 2019.
Methods — Linked health care databases were used to identify patients receiving first-line glaucoma therapy and to ascertain patient-level factors potentially associated with receipt of LT versus medication. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were undertaken.
Main Outcome Measures — Factors associated with receiving LT versus medications were evaluated using adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for age, gender, previous cataract surgery, previous corneal transplantation, previous retina surgery, level of systemic comorbidity, socioeconomic status (SES), and rural versus urban residence.
Results — In total, 194 759 patients were included. Older patients were less likely to be treated with LT versus medication (≥81 years of age vs. 66–70 years of age: OR, 0.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48–0.50), whereas women were more likely than men to receive LT (OR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.39–1.45). Previous ocular surgeries were associated with decreased probability of treatment with LT, including cataract surgery (OR, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.30–0.32), corneal transplantation (OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.31–0.49), and retina surgery (OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.41–0.51). Patients with high comorbidity were less likely to receive LT (highest vs. lowest level of comorbidity: OR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.91–0.97). Laser trabeculoplasty use was less likely among patients at higher levels of SES (highest vs. lowest level: OR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.84–0.89) and from a rural residence (versus urban: OR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.90–0.95). Increasing utilization of LT over time was noted (for each additional calendar year: OR, 1.05 per year; 95% CI, 1.05–1.05 per year).
Conclusions — Our results identified patient characteristics associated with use of LT as primary therapy for glaucoma, including factors related to patient demographics, ocular history, and comorbidity. Many of these associations are unexpected based on efficacy data or evidence-based guidelines. These results are topical considering growing evidence supporting use of first-line LT.