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Researchers show beneficial role of risk calculator in fighting progression of glaucoma

A new glaucoma risk calculator, which estimates a patient's risk of converting from high eye pressure, or ocular hypertension, to glaucoma, will help physicians determine whether to initiate therapy for patients. High eye pressure is the leading risk factor for glaucoma, and is the only modifiable one. If glaucoma is untreated, vision loss may continue, leading to blindness in some individuals.

"The risk assessment idea came to me after studying the cardiovascular model which measures cholesterol to determine whether or not to initiate a statin for cholesterol lowering by assessing cholesterol, age, blood pressure, and other risk factors," said Robert N. Weinreb, M.D., Director of the Hamilton Glaucoma Center at University of California, San Diego and Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology at the UCSD School of Medicine, and co-developer of the calculator. "The glaucoma risk calculator is a tool which allows doctors to better assess patient risk levels and, if needed, recommend treatment options that can help decrease the progression of glaucoma in patients with ocular hypertension."

The risk calculator model will be reported at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting October 17 in Chicago, Ill., by Weinreb and Felipe A. Medeiros, M.D., Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, at the UCSD Hamilton Glaucoma Center, lead author of the study demonstrating the risk calculator's effectiveness.

Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness, is an eye disease in which damage to the optic nerve located in the back of the eye results in loss of eyesight. About half of patients with glaucoma have ocular hypertension. Treatment depends on the degree or stage of the glaucoma. Physicians might not prescribe any treatment for ocular hypertension, for example, when increased pressure in the eye is minimal and no nerve damage is present. Routine monitoring of the patient's peripheral vision and of the appearance of the optic nerve ma
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Contact: Eileen Callahan
ecallahan@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
17-Oct-2005


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