The American Optometric Association (AOA) Guidelines classify glaucoma as a group of eye disorders that lead to damage of the optic nerve with a defect in the retinal nerve fiber layer resulting in visual field loss. Glaucoma is a chronic, progressive disorder and if not diagnosed early and treated appropriately, it can lead to an irreversible decline in eyesight.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the US. The most common type of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, affects approximately 3 million individuals in the US. The prevalence is estimated to reach 7 million by 2050, due to the increased prevalence of glaucoma in older adults and the growth of the elderly population in the US.
Many classes of medications are used in the management of glaucoma, including prostaglandin analogs, beta-adrenergic blockers, alpha2-adrenergic agonists, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, and cholinergic agents. Prostaglandin analogs or beta blockers are usually considered first-line therapy, although prostaglandin analogs are increasingly preferred.3 Factors that should be taken into account when deciding what agent(s) to initiate include efficacy, side effects, cost, and dosing frequency. There are a number of barriers to adherence with glaucoma medication.4 Healthcare professionals should be aware of these barriers and assess for their presence frequently.
Important aspects of patient education include reviewing potential medication complications, counseling on proper administration technique, and coping strategies for medication management with vision loss.
- Pharmacists, Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and Registered Nurses
This CE activity was developed by The Rx Consultant, a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc.
CE activities for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians:
This continuing education (CE) activity meets the requirements of all state boards of pharmacy for approved continuing education hours. CE credit is automatically reported to CPE Monitor.
CE activities for Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists:
This continuing education activity meets the requirements of:
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for formally approved continuing education (CE) hours, and CE hours of pharmacotherapeutics.
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) for acceptable, accredited CE.
This is a pharmacotherapeutics/pharmacology CE activity.
Continuing Education Network, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.
Requirements for CE Credit
- Discuss the risk factors and pathophysiology of glaucoma.
- List the medication classes and individual agents available for glaucoma management. Discuss the mechanism of action and efficacy of each class.
- List the side effects, cautions, and contraindications for the most commonly used glaucoma medications.
- Educate patients on the proper administration and scheduling of medication eye drops, as well as the importance of adherence. Recognize potential barriers to adherence and provide possible solutions.
Edward M DeSimone, RPh, PhD, FAPhA
Disclosure : Dr. DeSimone reports no financial or personal relationship with any commercial interest producing, marketing, reselling, or distributing a product or service that appears in this issue.
Jamie Rickards Cronquist, PharmD, BCPS, MBA
Brief Bio : Assistant Professor and Clinical Geriatric Pharmacist at Notre Dame of Maryland University, School of Pharmacy, Baltimore, Maryland.
Disclosure : Dr. Cronquist reports no financial relationship with the manufacturer(s) or provider(s) of any commercial interest(s) or service(s) that appears in this issue.