Specialists focus on vital eye-drop rules for glaucoma

by:Jane Cheung
An expert group has warned about the consequences for glaucoma patients if eye drops are handled and used incorrectly.
Doctors from the Hong Kong Federation of Societies for Prevention of Blindness said improper use of drops could lead to the condition becoming more serious and in a worst case blindness.
Chow Pak-chin, a specialist in ophthalmology and a former president of the federation, said eye drops first-line therapy for glaucoma, but many patients are not using drops in the correct manner.
“The drops mainly suppress intraocular pressure and stabilize the nervous system and sight,” he said.
“If a patient doesn’t apply the drops the right way to let them absorb fully then the effect may be lowered. It can cause the condition to deteriorate and greatly increases the chance of blindness.”
Chow said every three people in 100 have glaucoma and around 40,000 people in Hong Kong suffer from the condition. He said people who have serious short- or long-sightedness and those who have close family members suffering from the condition are more likely to develop the eye disease.
The federation conducted a survey on 57 glaucoma patients on how they apply eye drops and found more than 95 percent did not use them properly.
Ophthalmology specialist Jonathan Ho Chun-ho said 44 percent of respondents applied more than two drops to each eye, which was wasteful as excessive fluid drips down a person’s face.
And half of the patients were not aware of side-effects of the drops in contact with the skin, he added.
“They should wipe off the excess as some people have allergic skin,” he said. “The drops in contact with the skin may lead to irritation including redness, itchiness and even blisters.”
Ho also said most eye drops contain preservatives, and a small number of patients are allergic to them.
A glaucoma patient in his 50s named Tai was diagnosed with the condition in 2010 and has been using eye drops since. “In June this year, under the prescription of my doctor, I switched to a new eye drop,” he recounted. “After using it for one to two days my eyes became very red and irritated.”……
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Source: The Standard