Glaucoma and Depression

Rod Foroozan, MD


January 05, 2009


Glaucoma is one of the most common chronic ocular disorders that require continued treatment and follow-up. Visual loss has been found to correlate with the prevalence of depression in patients with visual field defects. In addition, some of the treatment strategies for glaucoma include medications (eg, topical beta blockers) that may increase the risk of depression.[1] Prior studies attempting to link glaucoma and depression have reported mixed results.[2]


Depression and quality of life in patients with glaucoma: a cross-sectional analysis using the Geriatric Depression Scale-15, assessment of function related to vision, and the Glaucoma Quality of Life-15


Skalicky S, Goldberg I
J Glaucoma. 2008;17:546-551


The authors of this cross-sectional study administered Geriatric Depression Scale-15 and Glaucoma Quality of Life-15 (GQL-15) questionnaires to 165 patients with mild, moderate, and severe glaucoma and 34 patients with ocular hypertension. Decreased quality of life (as determined by decreased GQL-15 scores) and depression were found to be more prevalent with increasing glaucoma severity. The authors also used a relatively recent technique, the Assessment of Function Related to Vision (AFREV), which showed worsening visual function with increasing glaucoma severity. Statistical significance of these findings was limited to patients in their 70s.




AFREV is an objective visual function test that has been found to correlate with clinical and subjective measures of glaucoma severity. AFREV has also been found to strongly correlate to mean deviation, pattern standard deviation, and visual acuity in patients with glaucoma. Testing involves asking patients to perform visually involved tasks, such as finding objects within a room. The authors suggested that earlier detection of glaucoma is helpful, especially in the elderly, where glaucoma in underrecognized. They also noted that one weakness of the study was the reliance on self-reporting surveys, which are influenced by recall bias.



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