New risk calculator helps physicians with risk assessment

October 15, 2005

A recent study published in Archives of Ophthalmology validates a glaucoma risk calculator modeled on those used for cardiovascular disease.

Chicago-A recent study published in Archives of Ophthalmology validates a glaucoma risk calculator modeled on those used for cardiovascular disease (CVD). “It’s here, it’s now, and I think it will influence our treatment,” said Robert D. Fechtner, MD, FACS, professor of ophthalmology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School.

Similar to the calculators honed over the years to help physicians and patients estimate the risk of CVD and sudden death, the glaucoma calculator compiles numerous risk factors and assigns numerical value to them, with lower scores indicating lowest risk of an individual converting from ocular hypertension to glaucoma over the next 5 years.

The risk calculator is based on data collected in the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study and is another tool physicians can use to help with treatment decisions, Dr. Fechtner said.

He explained that while physicians have become adept at determining a patient’s place on the glaucoma continuum, they lack a “radar gun” that can pinpoint the speed at which progression is occurring. With baseline data and regular follow-up using the risk calculator, physicians may be able to better estimate progression, Dr. Fechtner said.

Results of the calculation will be another piece of information useful in patient management.