Contributing ocular comorbidity to end-of-life visual acuity in medically treated glaucoma patients, ocular hypertension and glaucoma suspect patients

Palwasha Mokhles*, Luuk van Gorcom, Jan S A G Schouten, Tos T J M Berendschot, Henny J M Beckers, Carroll A B Webers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)


AIM: To assess the visual acuity at the end of life in glaucoma suspect patients, ocular hypertension, and patients treated for glaucoma and to find factors contributing to a reduced visual acuity in this cohort of deceased patients.

METHODS: In a cohort of 3883 medically treated glaucoma patients, glaucoma suspect, or patients with ocular hypertension assembled in 2001-2004, 1639 were deceased. Patient data were collected from electronic and paper patient files. The files of 1378 patients were studied and the last measured visual acuity and ocular comorbidities influencing the visual acuity were extracted.

RESULTS: Our results show that only 37.2% of patients had no visual impairment in either eye, 30.5% was visually impaired or blind in both eyes and 4.1% was blind in both eyes, all based on VA. The most common contributing factors for severe visual impairment or blindness (prevalence ≥ 1%) were: glaucoma, retinal vein occlusion, dry and exudative age-related macular degeneration, past retinal detachment, amblyopia, diabetic retinopathy, anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, trauma, decompensated cornea, past keratitis, enucleation, corneal transplantation, and macular hole.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the current advanced treatment modalities for glaucoma, 30.5% of patients had a VA < 0.5 in both eyes and 4.1% was blind in both eyes. However, this disability cannot be confidently attributed only to glaucoma. Besides glaucoma, most common contributing factors were among others retinal and macular diseases. Patient management in glaucoma should be based on more than lowering the intraocular pressure to prevent blindness at the end of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-891
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Early online date3 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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