Red often means stop in new glaucoma survey from Bausch + Lomb

Hyperemia is a painless, but unsightly common side effect from glaucoma treatment—but there are options. (Bausch + Lomb)

A new study from Bausch + Lomb and the Glaucoma Research Foundation shows that when it comes to glaucoma treatment adherence, it’s not only about seeing but about how people are seen.

The survey, released to coincide with Glaucoma Awareness Month, finds that hyperemia, which is reddening of the eye and a common side affect of treatment, often causes people to stop their routine. It’s not only the visual of having red eyes, it’s the negative connotations the attached to it—from lack of sleep, to disease, to drug use. In fact, 71% of those surveyed reported feeling self-conscious, and more than half (55) were embarrassed by their hyperemia.

“It goes beyond just socially getting together with friends, certainly with police officers, or anyone who interacts with the public,” Andrew Iwach, M.D., Glaucoma Research Foundation board chair and executive director of the Glaucoma Center of San Francisco, said. “There could be an assumption, why is that eye red? What were you doing last night?”

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Bausch + Lomb approached the Glaucoma Research Foundation about access to the group’s network in order to conduct the survey on how hyperemia affects their lives and in turn how that affects treatment adherence. The independent survey looked at 101 U.S. adults with glaucoma and subsequently hyperemia. Results show that many surveyed didn’t know about hyperemia as a side effect of their glaucoma treatment until after they experienced it.

Both the Glaucoma Research Foundation and Bausch + Lomb hope to use these findings to encourage people to talk to their doctor about different treatment options, including surgery, which may be available to them.

Bausch + Lomb markets Vyzulta for glaucoma with the company as a whole, including its suite of eye drugs, making just over $2 billion in the third quarter.

“We hope that by sharing these findings through a social media campaign, as well as through other marketing initiatives now in progress, we will be able to help encourage conversations between patients and their eyecare professionals about the emotional and social impact of hyperemia and the potential impact hyperemia can have on treatment adherence,” said Yolande Barnard, vice president and general manager, U.S. Pharmaceuticals, Bausch + Lomb.