As one entering his second decade in the care of glaucoma patients, and as one involved in glaucoma research, it seems a reasonable time to ask how effective our therapeutic approaches are. Glaucoma is somewhat unique in ophthalmic diseases with its chronic, relentless course and its customary need for truly unending medical therapies that, in fact, do not reverse the process, are difficult to administer, and may have significant morbidity. Perhaps only uveitis is a more discouraging disease, but even here there is always a chance, at least, for a remission. "Do I really have to use this medication the rest of my life?" the glaucoma patient asks. Unfortunately, the answer is usually yes, for although glaucoma may sometimes "burn out" in old age, it is also often the augury for the decline in other vital functions as well.
Wise senior clinicians have pointed out that it is only in
Epstein DL. Open Angle GlaucomaWhy Not a Cure?. Arch Ophthalmol. 1987;105(9):1187-1188. doi:10.1001/archopht.1987.01060090045023