Vision Organizations Challenge Federal Glaucoma Report

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Glaucoma Society (AGS) are challenging a federal review stating there is neither a clear link between glaucoma treatment and visual impairment, nor is there sufficient evidence supporting that open-angle glaucoma screenings can affect the condition’s eventual progression.

The review was conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and its findings potentially impact Medicare and private insurance coverage for existing glaucoma treatments designed to limit the symptoms of glaucoma and slow its development. “We did not find direct or indirect links between glaucoma screening and visual field loss, visual impairment, optic nerve damage, intraocular pressure and patient-reported outcomes,” the report reads. “… there is limited evidence that screening for (open-angle glaucoma) can reduce intermediate or final health outcomes including visual impairment and optic nerve function.”

Open-angle glaucoma is thought to affect at least 2 million Americans. While there is no cure, there are glaucoma treatment options including eye drops and surgery that have proven effective for many patients.

The AAO and AGS have asked for evidence to be re-examined, citing what the organizations believe are errors in the manner in which data was reviewed and evaluated.

“The AHRQ reviews and recommendations for screening and treatment of glaucoma fail to properly weigh the overall effectiveness of proven methods of patient care, and therefore could have significant negative social impact on the medical community’s ability to control the disease,” said a press release from the AAO.

If you have questions about glaucoma and your glaucoma treatment options, please contact eyes.com to locate an experienced eye doctor near you.