BMJ Clin Evid. 2011 Jun 9;2011:0703.


Introduction: Glaucoma is characterised by progressive optic neuropathy and peripheral visual field loss. It affects 1% to 2% of white people aged over 40 years and accounts for 8% of new blind registrations in the UK. The main risk factor for glaucoma is raised intraocular pressure, but 40% of people with glaucoma have normal intraocular pressure and only 10% of people with raised intraocular pressure are at risk of optic-nerve damage. Glaucoma is more prevalent, presents earlier, and is more difficult to control in black people than in white populations.

Methods and outcomes: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments for established primary open-angle glaucoma, ocular hypertension, or both? What are the effects of lowering intraocular pressure in people with normal-tension glaucoma? What are the effects of treatment for acute angle-closure glaucoma? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to May 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Results: We found 12 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.

Conclusions: In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: laser trabeculoplasty (alone or plus topical medical treatment), topical medical treatments, and surgical trabeculectomy.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Glaucoma*
  • Glaucoma, Angle-Closure
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Ocular Hypertension / drug therapy