We are living in a time of amazingly effective pharmacologic agents. Though the usefulness of medications like the corticosteroids is unquestioned, the undesirable side effects of such active chemicals has come as an unpleasant shock to doctor and patient alike. Untold glaucomatous damage to optic nerves has occurred during the period when physicians were furnished with steroid-antibiotic combinations designed to cure ocular irritation without need for etiologic diagnosis. It is unusual for such an undersirable side-effect to be found useful in scientific investigation. By their investigation of the intraocular pressure response to the chronic use of the corticosteroids, Bernard Becker and his co-workers in St. Louis have added a whole new chapter to our understanding of glaucoma. These statistics have led to the hypothesis of the recessive inheritance of open-angle glaucoma ("Glaucoma and Corticosteroid Provocative Testing," page 621 of this issue").
In essence, the hypothesis states that nearly 30% of
Shaffer RN. Corticosteroids, Glaucoma, and Time. Arch Ophthalmol. 1965;74(5):594-595. doi:10.1001/archopht.1965.00970040596002