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M. J. Wan, F. Kassam, G. S. Mutti, Z. Nasser, G. Trope, Y. Buys; Survey of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Glaucoma Patients. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):3981.
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To determine the prevalence, types and associated factors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in glaucoma patients.
Prospective, cross-sectional survey of consecutive glaucoma patients seen in the Glaucoma Unit at the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada. Information gathered on standardized data collection sheets included demographic variables, details regarding glaucoma treatment and severity, and details of CAM use.
A total of 1,014 patients with glaucoma completed the survey. The response rate was 89.3%. A total of 171 of the patients (16.9%) reported current or past use of CAM specifically for glaucoma. Of these, 24% had informed their ophthalmologist of their CAM use, 66% had not informed their ophthalmologist of their CAM use, and 10% had informed their ophthalmologist of some but not all of their CAM treatments. Only 43.8% of the patients who had reported CAM use believed that the treatments helped their glaucoma, 37.9% believed that their CAM therapies were of no help, and 18.3% were unsure. The most commonly used types of CAM were herbal medications (32.5%) followed by dietary modifications (23.2%) and vitamin/mineral supplements (17.2%). The use of CAM was associated with younger age at diagnosis (p < 0.001), younger current age (p = 0.031), longer duration of disease (p = 0.033), higher education level (p < 0.001), a history prior surgical (p = 0.002) or laser (p = 0.029) treatments for glaucoma, and subjectively greater impact of glaucoma on quality of life (p < 0.001). Of the 131 patients who reported that they were currently using one or more CAM therapies for their glaucoma, only 3 (2.3%) indicated that they were using conventional glaucoma treatments less than prescribed because of their CAM use.
A significant proportion of glaucoma patients use CAM for their disease. While most of these patients do not disclose the use of CAM to their ophthalmologist, the vast majority of patients still take conventional glaucoma medications as prescribed.
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