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Characteristics of Patients Receiving Treatment Who Deny A Diagnosis Glaucoma or Elevated Intraocular Pressure in the United States

Lowry, Eugene A., MD*,†; Mansberger, Steven L., MD, MPH*

doi: 10.1097/IJG.0000000000001035
Brief Reports

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the proportion of patients in the US population who are receiving long-term intraocular pressure (IOP)-lowering medication, but, deny having a diagnosis of glaucoma or elevated IOP.

Materials and Methods: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a home-based survey of a cross-sectional, representative, stratified sample of the US population every 2 years. Questions on prescription medication use are asked in every survey cycle, and patients were questioned whether they had ever been diagnosed with glaucoma or elevated IOP in the 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 surveys. During these 2 cycles, there were 7081 participants over age 40 of whom 135 endorse at least one year of topical IOP-lowering medication and were included in the final study.

Results: A total of 8.8% of Americans taking IOP-lowering medications for at least one year denied a diagnosis of glaucoma or high eye pressure. Patients taking more medications were more likely to endorse their diagnosis.

Conclusions: Over 150,000 Americans being treated for glaucoma or ocular hypertension may be unaware or deny a glaucoma diagnosis. Improving this awareness may enhance adherence. Patient awareness of their diagnosis is essential to quality care.

*Devers Eye Institute, Devers Eye Institute Glaucoma Service

Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, OR

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Eugene A. Lowry, MD, 1040 NW 22nd Ave, Portland, OR 97210 (e-mail:

Received July 17, 2018

Accepted July 18, 2018

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