Referral for first glaucoma surgery in Europe, the ReF-GS study

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Hollo G., Schmidl D., Hommer A., Stalmans I., Daphne T., Fichtl M., ...More

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF OPHTHALMOLOGY, vol.29, no.4, pp.406-416, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 29 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/1120672118791937
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.406-416
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: To analyze the appropriateness of referrals for incisional glaucoma-surgery in Europe. Methods: Referrals for the first open-angle glaucoma surgery between January and October 2017 were analyzed in 18 countries: 8 "old" European Union, 7 "new" European Union and 3 non-European Union European countries. Results: Most eyes had primary open-angle or exfoliative glaucoma. The average mean deviation was -13.8 dB with split fixation in 44.3%. No structural progression analysis was made before the referrals. The most common medications were the combination of a prostaglandin analog, timolol and a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor (30.0%), and all other combinations comprising > 3 molecules (33.8%). Laser trabeculoplasty was reported in only 18.4%. Of the 294 referrals, 41.5% were appropriate and timely, 35.0% appropriate but later than optimal, and 17.6% appropriate but too late (minimal vision maintained). The treatment period was significantly longer (median: 7 years) in the "old" European Union countries than in the other groups (3 and 2 years, respectively). No between-group differences were seen in intraocular pressure and mean deviation, but the non-European Union group referred the patients at significantly lower cup/disk ratio and eye drop usage than the other groups. Split fixation was significantly more common in the "old" (60.6%) than the "new" European Union countries (38.7%), and in both EU country-groups than in the non-European Union countries (13.6%). Conclusions: Of 294 European open-angle glaucoma referrals for first glaucoma-surgery, 41.5% were completely satisfactory. The damage was typically advanced, and the care varied considerably among the countries. This suggests that further efforts are necessary to improve glaucoma care in Europe.