04.02.18

Do Racial and Gender Disparities Exist in Newer Glaucoma Treatments?

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Glaucoma Society announced that it has awarded a grant to Mildred MG Olivier, MD, to study how often minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) devices and procedures are used in black and Latino glaucoma patients and whether these devices perform similarly across races, ethnicities, genders, ages, and regions. The goal of Dr. Olivier’s research is to increase quality care for glaucoma patients in all demographic groups.

Dr. Olivier’s team includes Eydie Miller-Ellis, MD, Clarisse Croteau-Chonka, PhD, Oluwatosin U. Smith, MD, Maureen G. Maguire, PhD, and Brian VanderBeek, MD, MPH, MSCE. They will work in conjunction with a bioinformatics team from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to mine the IRIS® Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight) database to explore this important topic.

The Academy’s IRIS Registry is the nation's first and largest comprehensive eye disease clinical registry. It allows ophthalmologists to pioneer research based on real-world clinical practice. The Academy developed it as part of the profession's shared goal of continual improvement in the delivery of eye care.

The American Glaucoma Society last year issued a call for proposals for an IRIS Registry grant. The Society today announced at its 2018 Annual Meeting that it chose Dr. Olivier’s application among seven strong proposals, primarily because it will help clinicians better understand where MIGS fits in the management of glaucoma.

Glaucoma affects 2.7 million people in the United States, a number that is expected to grow to 6.3 million by 2050. Glaucoma affects minority groups at a significantly higher rate than whites. A 2010 National Eye Institute report puts the total percentage of minority groups with glaucoma at 34 percent, even though minority groups represent just 30 percent of the U.S. population.

Glaucoma is typically treated with eyedrops or lasers first. If the disease progresses to moderate or advanced stages, ophthalmologists perform an invasive surgical procedure called trabeculectomy. MIGS offers a new option for patients with mild to moderate glaucoma, filling a gap between medication and more invasive filtration procedures. MIGS is also safer than trabeculectomy, has fewer complications, and patients recover faster.

Dr. Olivier’s research seeks to assess the real-world demographic differences in the use, safety, and effectiveness of MIGS compared with other glaucoma treatments. Findings may also help inform the structure of future studies involving MIGS procedures.

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