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October 10, 1990

Glaucoma: Detection Before Damage, Fewer Side Effects May Be Possible

JAMA. 1990;264(14):1793. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450140013004

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AN END to treatment side effects and slow, subjective, postdamage diagnosis are visible goals in glaucoma research.

Several agents are under investigation that reduce intraocular pressure without the systemic side effects that plague L-timolol, the oft-prescribed drug for primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease. Also, experimental devices that objectively measure the optic nerve and retinal nerve fiber layer may permit diagnosis and treatment before the irreversible damage that is presumably caused by high intraocular pressure.

Some of the latest work in these areas was spelled out recently at a Research to Prevent Blindness seminar in Universal City, Calif.

Intraocular pressure itself is now seen as a risk factor, not a diagnosis, for this second leading cause of blindness in the United States. As many as one third of eyes with glaucoma do not have high intraocular pressure when first examined. In addition, many eyes with high