Aim: To investigate final visual outcome in primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) including low-tension glaucoma (LTG).
Methods: Retrospective review of case notes for patients who died between 1999 and 2002. All were booked for a follow-up appointment in glaucoma clinic at time of death.
Results: A total of 121 case notes were reviewed. In all, 113 patients had POAG and eight had LTG. All were White Caucasians. Mean ages at presentation and death were 74.6 (SD 9.6, range 49-94) and 81.9 (SD 8.3, range 51-98) years, respectively. Mean follow-up duration was 7.4 (SD 6.8, range up to 29) years. Average number of clinic visits was 18 (SD 17, range 1-95). At final visit, 50.4% had cataract operations, and 45.5% had glaucoma operations. At final visit, vision was inadequate for driving in the UK in 47.1%. In 18.2%, this was due to glaucoma alone, while in 28.9%, other ocular pathologies contributed to poor vision. In all, 14% were eligible for partial sight certification, with 6.6% due to glaucoma alone. A total of 3.3% were eligible for blind certification, none due to glaucoma alone.
Conclusion: This study shows that POAG does affect the quality of life, with regards to glaucoma clinic visits, eye drops, and surgical procedures. Most patients with treated POAG in Norfolk will retain useful vision for their whole life. A significant proportion of patients with POAG do lose vision resulting in driving ineligibility and certification as visually impaired, although actual blindness is uncommon.