Allergan drives home the seriousness of glaucoma with latest awareness campaign

Allergan Westport, Ireland
Allergan's new awareness campaign features real patients and their caregivers and explores glaucoma's effects on patients' loved ones. (Allergan)

Glaucoma is often underestimated by patients. Allergan’s new campaign, “My Glaucoma,” looks to raise awareness of the seriousness of the disease, with real patient and caregiver perspectives on the difficulties of living with it.

The campaign is informed in part by research that Allergan, which markets the glaucoma-fighting treatments Lumigan and Alphagan, did in conjunction with the Glaucoma Research Foundation. They found that while 3 in 4 patients are concerned they will lose their vision to glaucoma, 40% consider it to be only somewhat serious or not serious at all.

In fact, 27% of patients will go blind in one eye over a 10-year period, according to research published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

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As a pharma company in eye care, Allergan “feels responsible that there needs to be more awareness around this. We didn’t do this in isolation, we partnered with Glaucoma Research Foundation and did a survey of 500 patients with glaucoma that provided challenges and things that impact their lives,” Matthew Bolton, Allergan's executive director of glaucoma marketing, said.

But unlike with the company's previous initiatives, this is "one of the first times we've approached glaucoma from a caregiver's lens," he said. 

"I think a lot of times people think about glaucoma and the challenges just that that personal patient experiences, but it impacts a lot of people around them," Bolton added.

In online videos, for instance, the husband and son of Patrice, who has lost 60% of her eyesight to glaucoma, talk about her struggle and its effects on them. Her husband Bob talks about having to give up playing tennis in a group of friends.

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“It was kind of new to me in a sense, how does it affect your life. I didn’t really realize. It took me a while to catch on as far as some of the things she needed me to do,” her husband Bob says. His voice breaks and he sheds tears as he advises people who are having trouble seeing to get checked before it gets worse. “Because it will get worse. That’s what happened to my wife. And it was too late. She makes up for it, but she still can’t do a lot of stuff," he says.

The website also includes fact sheets and discussion guides. Another feature on the site is a visual that allows visitors to slide a button to see for themselves the loss of vision over time to glaucoma. The campaign launched on World Sight Day in October but will continue to run through the year and beyond, with additions and evolved content, Bolton said.