Glaucoma therapy: preservative-free for all?
Authors Thygesen J
Received 4 September 2017
Accepted for publication 4 November 2017
Published 13 April 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 707—717
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak
Peer reviewer comments 3
Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser
Department of Ophthalmology, Glaucoma Services in Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
Abstract: Preservatives used in topical glaucoma medications have a plethora of well-described toxic effects on the ocular surface. Such ocular toxicity is manifest clinically as ocular surface disease (OSD) and has been confirmed in epidemiologic, prospective clinical trials and studies in which patients are switched from preservative-added to preservative-free topical therapy. Such toxicity has implications not only for tolerability, but also for adherence and persistence with therapy that is known to be poor in glaucoma. Glaucoma medication is now widely available in preservative-free formulations, and the question arises as to which patients should receive preservative-free glaucoma therapy in preference to preservative-added medication. A case can be made for several subpopulations of patients who might particularly benefit from preservative-free medication: patients with existing OSD, older patients, younger adult patients, female patients, pediatric and juvenile patients, patients who work in air-conditioned environments or who use electronic screens frequently, patients with medical risk factors for OSD, patients in whom trabecular surgery may become indicated in the future, contact lens users, perhaps patients with Asian ethnicity and patients with severe or treatment-refractory glaucoma. Whilst arguments could be made for selecting patients for preservative-free medication on the basis of their existing risk of OSD, collectively, these patients form a significant proportion of the glaucoma patient population as a whole and, in the absence of any cost premium or positive indication for preservative-added medication, preservative-free glaucoma medication for all patients seems an appropriate strategy.
Keywords: glaucoma, topical therapy, preservative toxicity, preservative-free glaucoma medication, ocular surface disease
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