Interruptions in clinical visits and limited access to prescriptions during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in decreased patient adherence to glaucoma medication regimens, according to data reported in Journal Français d’Ophtalmologie.
Researchers enrolled 197 individuals (54.8% men) with glaucoma consisting of patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG; 77.2%), pseudoexfoliation glaucoma (14.2%) and other glaucoma subtypes (8.6%) in a cross-sectional study between July and September 2020. Participants completed a 28-item questionnaire, provided demographic information, answered questions related to the pandemic, and identified barriers to medication adherence.
A total of 82 (41.6%) patients reported interruptions in clinical visits during the pandemic and 56 patients (28.4%) reported non adherence with glaucoma medications during the pandemic. Among patients who were non compliant, 50% attributed their failure to adhere to medication regimens to forgetfulness, 10.7% reported being unable to receive a prescription and 10.7% reported being too busy. Factors influencing non adherence were younger age (mean age, 58 vs 63 years for adherent patients; P =.02), female sex (33 women vs 23 men; P =.02) and a higher income (≥5000 Turkish lira per month).
“Increased medication adherence is considered as an important factor for better management of glaucoma, which is a chronic and progressive disease,” according to the researchers. “However, patients have trouble in adhering to the prescribed glaucoma treatments and non-adherence is probably the most significant factor contributing to glaucoma-related vision loss.”
Study limitations include potential recall bias due to self reporting and the use of an in-person method of obtaining data, which may have limited participation.
Fırat PG, Dikci S, Can A, Türkoğlu EB. Evaluation of medication adherence of glaucoma patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Fr Ophtalmol. Published online November 17, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.jfo.2022.09.006