To Treat Or Not To Treat

Data from these clinical trials are very helpful in broadly guiding our treatment plans; however, glaucoma treatment must be individualized. After evaluating all available information for a given patient, a decision must first be made whether treatment is necessary. In certain rare circumstances, patients' life expectancies may be limited, and their visual loss from glaucoma may not be very advanced. In this situation, a determination must be made regarding the likelihood that these patients will become visually handicapped from glaucoma without treatment. If they are considered to be at low risk, treatment may not be required. Clinicians must be very careful in pursuing this course, because it is notoriously difficult to predict the life expectancy of individual patients. Also, with the relatively low side effect profile of newer glaucoma medications and SLT, a conservative, safe, and effective treatment protocol can be instituted in most cases.

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