Article Text

Twenty-year outcomes in patients with newly diagnosed glaucoma: mortality and visual function
  1. Christopher King1,
  2. Justin C Sherwin1,
  3. Gokulan Ratnarajan2,
  4. John F Salmon1
  1. 1Oxford Eye Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK
  2. 2QVH Eye Unit, Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, East Grinstead, UK
  1. Correspondence to John F Salmon, Oxford Eye Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, OX3 9DU, UK; john.salmon{at}


Background/aims To determine the mortality within 20 years of diagnosis of chronic open-angle glaucoma (COAG) and visual acuity and visual field progression of a cohort followed for 20 years.

Methods Twenty years following the diagnosis of COAG in 68 of 436 (16%) patients seen in a glaucoma case-finding clinic, visual and mortality outcomes were audited from medical records. Causes of death were obtained from general practitioner records and death certificates. Probability of death was calculated using a Kaplan-Meier survival curve. The visual field of each eye of survivors was graded using a nine-stage severity scale. Visual outcome was analysed at the 20-year follow-up visit.

Results From 68, 14 (21%) were lost to follow-up. In the remaining 54, 20 (37%) were alive 20 years after diagnosis. Of 63% who died, mean age of death was 84 years, most commonly due to vascular disease. Mean age at presentation of those who died was 73.7 years versus 63.2 years for survivors (P=0.001). The median time to death was 16 years. On visual field analysis, nearly half (48.9%) of eyes did not deteriorate, but 28.3% eyes deteriorated by more than two stages. Those who died had worse final visual acuity than survivors (P<0.001). Three who died were registered severely visually impaired mainly from macular disease, but no survivors were registered (P<0.001).

Conclusion In this cohort, approximately two-thirds of patients with glaucoma died within 20 years of diagnosis. In most older patients with glaucoma, the overall goal of preventing visual handicap and blindness is achievable 20 years after diagnosis.

  • glaucoma
  • public health
  • epidemiology

Statistics from


  • Contributors CK and JCS wrote the study, performed the statistical analyses and analysed the data. GR and JFS conceived the study and analysed the data. All authors proof read the manuscript and edited it critically for content. JFS is the guarantor of the manuscript.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Detail has been removed from this case description/these case descriptions to ensure anonymity. The editors and reviewers have seen the detailed information available and are satisfied that the information backs up the case the authors are making.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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