Compliance is paramount with glaucoma treatment, but the daily routine can be a challenge for some. A new study suggests lower income, less education and higher glaucoma-related distress are all bad omens for patients with glaucoma, as they can lead to lower adherence to treatment.

This prospective cohort study evaluated 95 glaucoma patients older than 40 who were taking at least one glaucoma medication and self-reported poor adherence. Each participant completed a baseline survey assessing demographics, social network, perceived stress, consideration of future consequences, glaucoma-related distress and social support. A team monitored medication adherence for three months and assessed the relationship between baseline factors and medication adherence.

Of the participants, 63% had graduated from college, 55% were white, 35% were African American and 97% had insurance. The researchers found that median adherence over three months was 74±21%, noting that higher income and more education were significantly associated with better adherence. They added that glaucoma-related distress was inversely associated with medication adherence, with every one-point increase in distress predicting a 2.4 percentage-point decrease in medication adherence.

“Additional glaucoma self-management support resources should be directed toward patients with such risk factors for poor adherence,” the study authors concluded in their paper.

Salman M, Andrews C, Heister M, et al. Psychosocial predictors of glaucoma medication adherence among the Support, Educate, Empower (SEE) personalized glaucoma coaching pilot study participants. Am J Ophthalmol. February 19, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].