An Exploratory Study of Factors Influencing Glaucoma Treatment Adherence

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To understand the factors that influence glaucoma treatment adherence with medication taking, prescription refills, and appointment keeping to develop an intervention for a specific population.

Patients and Methods

In-depth interviews were conducted with 80 individuals diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma, glaucoma suspect, or ocular hypertension. Additional eligibility requirements were that all participants were: between the ages of 18 to 80; white or African American; spoke and understood English; and were taking daily doses of topical glaucoma treatments for at least the past year. Cross-tabulations and χ2 tests were conducted to compare adherent and nonadherent individuals, classified as such based on self-report and medical chart/pharmacy data.


Compared with adherent participants, nonadherent participants were less likely to: believe their eye doctors spent sufficient time with them; ask their eye doctor if they had any questions; know of benefits to taking their glaucoma medication regularly; and have someone help them take their glaucoma medications or drive them to eye appointments. Conversely, compared with adherent individuals, nonadherent participants were more likely to have difficulty remembering to take their medications and to believe their glaucoma would affect their eye sight in the future.


Nonadherent glaucoma patients struggle with a variety of issues related to consistent use of glaucoma medicine and routine eye care. Interventions are needed to address these modifiable factors related to glaucoma treatment adherence.

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