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Evolution of first-line glaucoma therapy, 2007-2018: a population-based analysis

Doliszny K, Quinn MP, El-Defrawy SR, Gill SS, Whitehead M, Johnson D, Campbell RJ. Can J Ophthalmol. 2022; Dec 6 [Epub ahead of print]. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcjo.2022.11.008


Objective — To evaluate the long-term evolution of first-line glaucoma therapy (FLGT) initiated by ophthalmologists and optometrists.

Design — Retrospective population-based study using validated provincial health care databases.

Participants — 194,759 Ontario residents, 66 years of age or older, who received FLGT between 2007 and 2018.

Methods —A total of 194,759 individuals from 12 annual cohorts were enrolled, and rates of first-line medical treatment (prostaglandin analogue [PGA], beta-blocker, alpha-2-agonist, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitor) and laser trabeculoplasty (LT) were calculated. Provider (ophthalmologist or optometrist) rates also were assessed.

Results — Across the entire study period, of the 194,759 enrolled individuals who received FLGT, 60.2% initially received medical treatment and 39.8% underwent LT. Approximately 94.6% were treated by ophthalmologists. PGA therapy was the most common therapy prior to 2010, whereupon LT became the most common FLGT. By 2015, LT exceeded the total of all medications as FLGT. The annual rate of initial medication prescriptions by optometrists rose to 101.4 per 100,000 population between 2011 and 2018. In 2018, PGA and non-PGA prescription rates by ophthalmologists were 2.6 and 5.0 times higher, respectively, than prescription rates by optometrists.

Conclusion — LT therapy has become the most common FLGT for Ontario residents 66 years of age or older. PGAs remain the most frequently prescribed glaucoma medication. While ophthalmologists continue to provide the majority of FLGT, optometrists now provide a small but growing fraction of FLGT following the introduction of glaucoma medication prescribing privileges.

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