Survey from Bausch + Lomb, Glaucoma Research Foundation reveals emotional, social impacts of hyperemia on glaucoma patients

,

Marking Glaucoma Awareness Month this month, Bausch + Lomb and the Glaucoma Research Foundation have released key findings from a survey of glaucoma patients that was designed to gain a greater understanding of the impact that hyperemia can have in the treatment and lives of people living with glaucoma.

To mark Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, Bausch + Lomb and the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) released new key findings from a survey of glaucoma patients that was designed to gain a greater understanding of the impact that hyperemia can have in the treatment and lives of people living with glaucoma.

In the United States, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in individuals over 60, affecting approximately 3 million people.1,2

For patients diagnosed with glaucoma, adherence to a treatment regimen is critical for managing their condition and controlling intraocular pressure, which helps to slow disease progression.3 Certain treatments for glaucoma can result in hyperemia of the eye due to an increase in blood flow in vessels at the surface of the eye, resulting in red eyes.4,5 A patient's concern about and dissatisfaction with side effects are among the primary reason for non-adherence and discontinuation.6With hyperemia as the most common documented side effect, some glaucoma patients stop or skip medication as a result,6which may have implications for long-term treatment and patient eye health.

Joe Gordon, U.S. president of Bausch + Lomb, said the company was pleased to collaborate with Glaucoma Research Foundation to raise awareness of hyperemia and how it may have an impact on the lives of patients with glaucoma.

“The survey results demonstrated that the emotional cost of hyperemia is high, with 71 percent of participants feeling self-conscious and 55 percent feeling embarrassed about their red eyes,” Gordon said in a statement. “It is our hope that by raising awareness of this issue, we can help facilitate discussions among patients and their eye care professionals about their options and the importance of adhering to their treatment regimen."

The survey included 101 adults, 18 years and older in the United States, who have glaucoma and have experienced hyperemia as a result of their treatment. The survey found that few glaucoma patients know about hyperemia when starting treatment for glaucoma, with 61 percent reporting that they only became aware of the condition after experiencing it themselves.

Additionally, nearly half (43 out of 101) of the respondents reported talking to their doctors about changing their glaucoma treatment as a result of hyperemia, and 12 out of 101 either skipped doses or stopped using their prescription eye drops. Approximately 66 out of 101 participants reported feeling more confident when their eyes were not red, and respondents also indicated that there was some social stigma associated with having red eyes. In fact, one in 10 patients stopped their treatment in certain social or professional circumstances and 41 out of 101 noted concerns about experiencing negative social interactions as a result.

Andrew Iwach, MD, board chairman of the Glaucoma Research Foundation and executive director of the Glaucoma Center of San Francisco, noted in a statement that the findings build upon earlier evidence that hyperemia presents a challenge to people with glaucoma and sheds light on how the condition may not only impact how they treat their glaucoma, but how they live their lives.

“The results reinforce the importance for eye care professionals to have an open dialogue with their patients about the available treatment options and any concerns that they may have,” Iwach said in the statement. “This can help patients to feel confident about managing their glaucoma and demonstrate the importance of taking control of their eye health by maintaining the appropriate treatment regimen."