Are Patient Self-Reported Outcome Measures Sensitive Enough to Be Used as End Points in Clinical Trials?: Evidence from the United Kingdom Glaucoma Treatment Study

Ophthalmology. 2019 May;126(5):682-689. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.09.034. Epub 2018 Sep 28.


Purpose: The United Kingdom Glaucoma Treatment Study (UKGTS) demonstrated the effectiveness of an intraocular pressure-lowering drug in patients with glaucoma using visual field progression as a primary outcome. The present study tested the hypothesis that responses on patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs; secondary outcome measure) differ between patients receiving a topical prostaglandin analog (latanoprost) or placebo eye drops in UKGTS.

Design: Multicenter, randomized, triple-masked, placebo-controlled trial.

Participants: Newly diagnosed glaucoma patients in the UKGTS with baseline and exit PROMs (n = 182 and n = 168 patients from the treatment and placebo groups, respectively).

Methods: In the UKGTS (trial registration number, ISRCTN96423140), patients with open-angle glaucoma were allocated to receive latanoprost (treatment) or placebo; the observation period was 24 months. Patients completed general health PROMs (European Quality of Life in 5 Dimensions [EQ-5D] and 36-item Short Form [SF-36]) and PROMs specific to glaucoma (15-item Glaucoma Quality of Life [GQL-15] and 9-item Glaucoma Activity Limitation [GAL-9]) at baseline and exit from the trial. Percentage changes between measurement on PROMs were calculated for each patient and compared between treatment arms. In addition, differences between stable patients (n = 272) and those with glaucomatous progression (n = 78), as determined by visual field change (primary outcome), were assessed.

Main outcome measure: PROMs on health-related and vision-related quality of life.

Results: Average percentage change on PROMs was similar for patients in both arms of the trial, with no statistically significant differences between treatment and placebo groups (EQ-5D, P = 0.98; EQ-5D visual analog scale, P = 0.88; SF-36, P = 0.94, GQL-15, P = 0.66; GAL-9, P = 0.87). There were statistically significant differences between stable and progressing patients on glaucoma-specific PROMs (GQL-15, P = 0.02; GAL-9, P = 0.02), but not on general health PROMs (EQ-5D, P = 0.62; EQ-5D visual analog scale, P = 0.23; SF-36, P = 0.65).

Conclusions: Average change in PROMs on health-related and vision-related quality of life was similar for the treatment and placebo groups in the UKGTS. The PROMs used may not be sensitive enough to function as primary end points in clinical trials when participants have newly diagnosed early-stage glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / diagnosis
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / drug therapy*
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / physiology*
  • Latanoprost / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom
  • Visual Acuity*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Latanoprost