WGA Announces Consensus Findings to Further Define the Role of Intraocular Pressure in Glaucoma

2007-07-18 11:56 594

SINGAPORE, July 19 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Today, leading experts from the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) launched the group's first consensus on intraocular pressure (IOP). The panel recognized that elevated IOP is the leading risk factor for glaucoma progression and accurate measurement of IOP plays a key role in assessing glaucoma risk and disease management. The panel's goal is to define more clearly the relationship between IOP and the optic nerve to minimize permanent damage, a leading cause of blindness worldwide.

The consensus panel, which represents 70 of the world's principal glaucoma societies, launched its consensus at the World Glaucoma Congress in Singapore. This marks the fourth consecutive annual consensus statement.

"It is vital to define clearly how IOP relates to optic nerve damage to improve patient care and to achieve consistency in glaucoma management across the globe," said Robert N. Weinreb, M.D., Past President of the WGA (formerly AIGS: Association of International Glaucoma Societies), Chair of the WGA Consensus Committee, Director of the Hamilton Glaucoma Center and Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Diego, USA. "Our goal is to minimize glaucoma progression to preserve sight and maintain the overall quality of life of our patients."

In total, seven consensus points were evaluated to help determine how IOP should be measured and used, in order to understand better its overall role in glaucoma:

-- Determinants of IOP

-- Measurement of IOP

-- IOP Variation

-- Epidemiology of IOP

-- IOP as a risk factor for glaucoma development and progression

-- Clinical trials and IOP

-- Target IOP in clinical practice

The consensus report was based on more than two decades of groundbreaking research, which confirmed that IOP is a primary modifiable risk factor for glaucoma. Lowering IOP has been shown to be the only approach demonstrated to prevent and delay glaucoma progression.

Target IOP

The panel emphasized that IOP should be evaluated on an individual basis depending on where the patient is along the glaucoma disease continuum. The target levels for IOP should be defined as the estimated range where the risk of progressive disease is unlikely to affect the patient's quality of life. Clinicians should consider the amount of glaucoma damage that has already occurred, the IOP at which the initial optic nerve damage occurred, life expectancy, the status of the fellow eye and family history of glaucoma.

IOP Measurement

The panel also considered ways to measure IOP accurately. In particular, the measurement of central corneal thickness (CCT) was identified as crucial. The time of day, how long people have been awake and contact lens use all affect the precision of measurement of CCT.

The panel highlighted other important parameters in the outcome of glaucoma; the management of peak and mean IOP were seen as key factors to improve current standards of care.

"The WGA is working constantly to improve the global management of glaucoma in an effort to prevent what should be unnecessary vision loss," said Ivan Goldberg, FRANZCO, WGA President and Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Sydney, Australia. "The WGA has created the consensus process to achieve better patient care for those with glaucoma, and the panel's report is respected globally."

Source: World Glaucoma Association