Characteristics of Patients Receiving Treatment Who Deny A Diagnosis Glaucoma or Elevated Intraocular Pressure in the United States

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The purpose of this study was to determine the proportion of patients in the US population who are receiving long-term intraocular pressure (IOP)-lowering medication, but, deny having a diagnosis of glaucoma or elevated IOP.

Materials and Methods:

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a home-based survey of a cross-sectional, representative, stratified sample of the US population every 2 years. Questions on prescription medication use are asked in every survey cycle, and patients were questioned whether they had ever been diagnosed with glaucoma or elevated IOP in the 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 surveys. During these 2 cycles, there were 7081 participants over age 40 of whom 135 endorse at least one year of topical IOP-lowering medication and were included in the final study.


A total of 8.8% of Americans taking IOP-lowering medications for at least one year denied a diagnosis of glaucoma or high eye pressure. Patients taking more medications were more likely to endorse their diagnosis.


Over 150,000 Americans being treated for glaucoma or ocular hypertension may be unaware or deny a glaucoma diagnosis. Improving this awareness may enhance adherence. Patient awareness of their diagnosis is essential to quality care.

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