ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
CANCER
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster
EYE CARE, VISION
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
FITNESS
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
New Options Offered for Sleep Apnea
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Add your Article

Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- Glaucoma doesn't necessarily have to end in blindness, two new studies suggest.

In one report, researchers say they found traditional surgery for glaucoma has better outcomes than using glaucoma drainage devices. The second report found that even patients with end-stage glaucoma can be successfully treated. Both studies were published in the July issue of Ophthalmology.

In the first report, researchers looked at the number of complications from traditional glaucoma surgery versus complications from inserting a device that drains fluid from the eye.

"We found a higher complication rate for glaucoma drainage devices than for traditional surgery," said lead researcher Frank Sloan, the Alexander McMahon Professor of Health Policy and Management at Duke University. "Of course, adverse outcomes for either procedure are rare."

In deciding between the two procedures, physicians will have to balance the risks versus the benefits, Sloan said. "It's good for ophthalmologists to have these outcome rates in mind when they counsel patients," he said.

In the study, Sloan and his colleagues collected data on 14,491 Medicare patients with glaucoma. These patients all underwent one of three surgeries. These included primary trabeculectomy (PT), trabeculectomy after scarring from previous surgery or trauma (TS), or the implanting of a glaucoma drainage device (GDD).

All these surgeries are designed to improve the drainage of fluid from the eye and reduce intraocular pressure. In trabeculectomy, a small portion of the tissue at the base of the cornea is removed to increase fluid flow, and in GDD a tiny shunt is implanted, which redirects fluid flow.

Sloan's group found that all of procedures had few adverse outcomes. However, GDD resulted in more patients progressing to low vision or blindness (2.6 percent), compared with patients who underwent PT (1 percent) or TS (1.3 percent).

Dr. Robert Cykiert, an ophthalmologist at New York University Medical Center and a clinical associate professor of ophthalmology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City, said that this study "says that one should try trabeculectomy procedure first, if you can."

In these patients, "experience and intuition says that additional trabeculectomy surgery usually won't work. That's why we go to a glaucoma drainage device," Cykiert said. "This study indicates that if there's any belief you can get away with doing a trabeculectomy procedure, you are better off doing that then putting in the drainage device."

These results will make people a little more conservative, Cykiert said. "Some glaucoma specialists jump ahead to the glaucoma drainage device sooner than they might or should," he noted.

In the second study, Dr. Jason W. Much, from the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and his colleagues looked at the charts of 64 patients with end-stage glaucoma. All these patients were considered legally blind at the start of the study.

All patients underwent trabeculectomy or laser trabeculoplasty, where tissue is removed by laser. The researchers found that, despite impaired vision, these patients did not become blind.

"Relentless progression to [complete] blindness is not the norm in treated patients," Much said in a statement. "Patients should be encouraged that treatment is not futile. They may retain their visual acuity for many years and be able to perform simple tasks of daily living and enjoy reading and hobbies."

Cykiert said this study contradicts what has been thought for a long time. "The thinking has been that treating patients with end-stage glaucoma is often unsuccessful, because they wind up losing their vision," he explained.

The conventional wisdom has been that once optic nerve was damaged beyond a certain point, no matter what one did, the nerve would eventually die, Cykiert said.

"This study shows that's not the case, even people with end-stage glaucoma, if you treat them aggressively and follow them carefully, you can preserve that little amount of vision that's left," Cykiert said.

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve, which if untreated will eventually lead to blindness. Glaucoma is detected by an intraocular pressure test. When the pressure climbs above 21 millimeters of mercury, glaucoma is present.

There are several types of glaucoma. The most common in the United States is called primary open-angle glaucoma. In the United States, many people have ocular hypertension, which is a precursor to glaucoma. Ocular hypertension results in elevated fluid pressure in the eye, but no damage to the optic nerve or vision loss.

Blacks and Hispanics are at higher risk for glaucoma, and progression to end-stage glaucoma is very common among blacks.

More information

For more on glaucoma, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Frank Sloan, Ph.D., Alexander McMahon Professor of Health Policy and Management, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Robert Cykiert, M.D., ophthalmologist, New York University Medical Center, clinical associate professor, ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; July 2008, Ophthalmology

Last Updated: July 02, 2008

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