Signs and Symptoms of Ocular Surface Disease: The Reasons for Patient Dissatisfaction with Glaucoma Treatments

Ingeborg Stalmans, Hans Lemij, Jonathan Clarke, Christophe Baudouin,

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Ocular Surface Disease (OSD) and hyperemia are the most common adverse events of topical ocular medications. While active compounds may cause allergic reactions or irritation, preservatives, which are intended to prevent bacterial growth, are toxic as well. Therefore, the most recent glaucoma medications no longer contain preservatives. Despite this, local tolerability may still impact treatment compliance and patient quality of life. We conducted an observational, multi-center, international, cross-sectional study in 793 treated and stabilized glaucoma patients to assess patient satisfaction and local tolerability of their treatment. The vast majority (93.7%) of patients was satisfied or very satisfied with their treatment in terms of tolerability and only 6.3% were dissatisfied. However, ophthalmological examination showed a high frequency of ocular signs: conjunctival hyperemia (32%), OSD (42.5%) and positive conjunctival fluorescein staining (10.3%). Additionally, patients reported symptoms upon instillation (31.4%) and between instillations (57.3%); 25.1% of patients were using tear substitutes. All signs and symptoms were significantly (p<0.001) associated with patient dissatisfaction. A logistic regression model indicated that dissatisfaction was higher in patients with symptoms upon instillation and in those using tear substitutes (OR: 3.03 and 4.63, respectively). The mean patient tolerability score to treatment was 82.7±16.1 on a 100-point visual analogue scale. In conclusion, even if patients may be highly satisfied with their current treatment, most of them present ocular signs and symptoms. A treatment change should be considered in case of clinical signs or patient-reported symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3675-3680
Number of pages6
JournalClinical ophthalmology (Auckland, N.Z.)
VolumeVolume 14
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


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