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Survey of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Glaucoma Patients

Wan, Michael J. MD*; Daniel, Shannon MD; Kassam, Faazil BSc*; Mutti, Gaganpal*; Butty, Ziad MD*; Kasner, Oscar MD, FRCSC; Trope, Graham E. MB, PhD, FRCSC*; Buys, Yvonne M. MD, FRCSC*

doi: 10.1097/IJG.0b013e3182027c0c
Original Studies

Purpose To determine the prevalence, types, and associated factors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in glaucoma patients.

Patients and Methods Prospective, multicenter, cross-sectional survey. A total of 1516 consecutive patients attending 2 tertiary glaucoma clinics were surveyed on CAM use. Information gathered on standardized data collection sheets included demographic variables, ophthalmic history, glaucoma treatment history, and details of CAM use.

Results The response rate was 92.5%. A total of 166 patients (10.9%) reported current use of CAM therapy specifically for glaucoma whereas 41 patients (2.7%) reported past use of CAM. Of the patients who reported CAM use, 62.5% had not disclosed the use of CAM to their ophthalmologist and 40.5% believed that the treatments were helping their glaucoma. The most commonly used types of CAM were herbal medications (34.5%), dietary modifications (22.7%), and vitamin/mineral supplements (18.8%). Of the 207 patients who reported current or past CAM use for their glaucoma, 3 (1.4%) indicated that they used conventional glaucoma treatments < prescribed because of their CAM use.

Conclusions Approximately 1 in 9 glaucoma patients use CAM for their disease. Many of these patients do not disclose the use of CAM to their ophthalmologist, but the vast majority report that they still take conventional glaucoma medications as prescribed.

*Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

Department of Ophthalmology, Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Supported by: (1) Unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer Inc. (2) 2009 Canadian Glaucoma Society/Merck-Frosst Canada Best Glaucoma Research Proposal.

The sponsor or funding organizations had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

Presented at: (1) The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 5, 2010. (2) The Canadian Ophthalmological Society Meeting, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, June 26, 2010.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Yvonne M. Buys, MD, FRCSC, Toronto Western Hospital, 399 Bathurst St, EW6-405, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 2S8 (e-mail:

Received August 26, 2010

Accepted October 10, 2010

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.