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The epidemiology of medical treatment for glaucoma and ocular hypertension in the United Kingdom: 1994 to 2003
  1. C G Owen1,
  2. I M Carey1,
  3. S De Wilde1,
  4. P H Whincup1,
  5. R Wormald2,
  6. D G Cook1
  1. 1Division of Community Health Sciences, St George’s, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK
  2. 2Moorfields Eye Hospital, City Road, London EC1V 2PD, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Christopher G Owen Division of Community Health Sciences, St George’s, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK; cowen{at}sgul.ac.uk

Abstract

Aims: To study trends in the prevalence of being treated for glaucoma and ocular hypertension from 1994 to 2003, and to examine factors determining treatment in 2002.

Methods: Computerised data (the DIN-LINK database) from 131 general practices across the United Kingdom, in which half a million patients aged 40 years or more were registered annually, were used. On average 10 000 patients were treated for glaucoma and ocular hypertension annually.

Results: Prevalence of being treated for glaucoma and ocular hypertension increased from 1.7% in 1994 to 2.3% in 2003. Those aged 85 years or more were 13 times (95% CI 12.2 to 13.8) more likely to be treated than those aged 40–64 years. Men were more likely to be treated than women (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.28). Subjects “hard pressed” were less likely to be treated than “wealthy achievers” (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.86 to 0.99). While use of topical β blocker only medications has declined since 1995, use of topical prostaglandins and combination therapies has increased. In 2003, use of prostaglandins overtook β blocker only medications.

Conclusion: Prevalence of being treated for glaucoma has increased over time, and rises with age. Differences in treatment by sex and social status could be explained by use of or access to health care or by underlying prevalence of disease. Trends in treated glaucoma emphasise the shift from use of topical β blockers to newer therapies.

  • ACORN, A Classification of Residential Neighbourhoods
  • IMD, index of multiple deprivation
  • IOP, intraocular pressure
  • POAG, primary open angle glaucoma
  • glaucoma
  • prescribing patterns
  • ACORN, A Classification of Residential Neighbourhoods
  • IMD, index of multiple deprivation
  • IOP, intraocular pressure
  • POAG, primary open angle glaucoma
  • glaucoma
  • prescribing patterns

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Footnotes

  • Sources of support: This study was funded by a grant from Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals (Pfizer Limited, Tadworth, Surrey, UK). IMC and SDeW are supported by the BUPA Foundation.

  • Competing interests: RW is a member of one of Pfizer’s advisory committees, and has received travel grants and honoraria from Pfizer for chairing a meeting of expert opinion concerning the treatment of glaucoma. RW has conducted research indirectly funded by grants to IGA from Pharmacia (taken over by Pfizer) for research into the adverse effects of topical β blockers.

  • This study was approved by the NHS Research Ethics Committee for Wandsworth (reference 05/Q0803/162).

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