In good news for preventative medicine, a new study in the journal “Archives of Ophthamology” has found that certain medicines currently used to treat ocular hypertension can, in fact, prevent one of the most common forms of glaucoma.
Glaucoma is any one of several conditions that damage a victim’s optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the eye to the brain. The front of the human eye contains aqueous humor, a clear liquid which is made continually behind the iris, or colored part of the eye. This fluid exits the eye through various channels.
When these channels are blocked, or the flow of the fluid out of the eye is slowed or stopped, pressure builds up behind the eye (intraocular pressure). When this pressure significantly exceeds normal levels, the victim has ocular hypertension. This can then cause damage to the optic nerve – Glaucoma.
In this most recent study, over 1,500 people with ocular hypertension were either observed or treated with medication. The two groups were then followed for over seven years. At that point, all the patients were treated with medication for an additional five-and-a-half years, and observed. Those who were treated for the full period cut their risk of developing one type of glaucoma by 50%. This included African-Americans, who generally have higher glaucoma rates than Caucasians.
In light of these significant findings, it may now constitute medical malpractice not to propose medical treatment for those suffering from ocular hypertension. This treatment, the simple regular application of a topical cream, could over the long term prevent significant ocular damage and vision loss to an enormous number of patients. If you suffer from ocular hypertension and are not already on medication, talk to your ophthalmologist as soon as possible about starting treatment. This simple act could save your vision down the road.
To discuss a potential case with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.