A study conducted at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami has found that medical and surgical modalities had similar quality-of-life implications for patients with ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN). Researchers noticed that patients with a fear of surgery and who had performed more personal research tended to choose interferon drops and those with a fear of visual loss tended to choose excision.

The study compared the responses to a quality-of-life assessment of 22 OSSN patients who had undergone medical therapy with 19 patients who had surgery. Researchers found that rates of tumor resolution and recurrences were comparable. In the medical group, 40% reported a fear of surgery and often made the decision after conducting literature research. In the surgical group, 32% chose surgery due to fear of decreased vision from lesion growth and wanted immediate resolution. Regarding side effects, interferon drops precipitated more ocular symptoms such as tearing and itchiness, while patients who had surgery reported having more pain.

All patients in the study reported being satisfied with the explanation of the diagnosis and treatment options, which made it easier for them to make a decision about their treatment options. They also felt satisfied with their respective treatment modality and reported that they would recommend it to other patients. The researchers emphasized that greater contact during treatment, as well as screening after completion, can contribute to patient care and quality of life. They highlighted the importance of a clinician’s interpersonal skills, effectiveness of offered treatment and ability to reduce problems associated with treatment.

Mercado CL, Pole C, Wong J. Surgical versus medical treatment for ocular surface squamous neoplasia: a quality of life comparison. Ocul Surf. 2019;17(1):60-3.