An evaluation of how glaucoma patients use topical medications: A pilot study

Tony Tsai, Alan L. Robin, Judson P. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Purpose: Multiple factors can influence patients' adherence to topical ophthalmic intraocular pressure-lowering medications. An important factor that is often overlooked is the method of eye drop administration, including the handling, storing, and actual administering of eye drops. These aspects of patients' eye drop administration, which may be strongly related to the success of prescribed therapies, are evaluated. Methods: A 2-page questionnaire was distributed to 253 sequential glaucoma patients at the time of their regular clinical visit with one of two geographically distinct glaucoma specialists. In addition to providing demographic data, the patients were asked to complete a 2-page questionnaire about their current use of eye drops. Results: The study participants had a mean age of 71.5 years (SD, 15.1 years) and were predominantly female (59.8%) and white (72.6%). Approximately 17% of them relied on others for the administration of drops and most commonly cited inadequate vision and trouble with manual dexterity leading to this dependency. Of those who self-administered drops, only 16.3% used a mirror. The most common location for administration was the bedroom (46.8%), followed by the bathroom (23.4%) and kitchen (16.1%). Almost 16% reported "rarely" or "never" washing their hands. Conclusions: Although most individuals may have little difficulty with the use, storage, and handling of eye drops, this study demonstrates that broad variation in reported practices exists. This finding suggests a need for better instruction in eye drop administration and illuminates some of the methodological problems that could be overcome to reduce patients' frustration, improve compliance, and increase efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalTransactions of the American Ophthalmological Society
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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