Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. As a chronic disease, glaucoma presents a significant burden to the individual, health-care provider and the health-care system. Currently, strategies for treating glaucoma are focused on lowering intraocular pressure, which is aimed at slowing or arresting disease progression over time. This is the only current accepted therapeutic strategy for glaucoma, and can be achieved using topical drugs, laser trabeculoplasty, filtration surgery or cyclodestructive techniques. The lowering of intraocular pressure has been well-supported by numerous large-scale seminal clinical trials in primary open-angle glaucoma, in both its early and advanced stages. Although such guidance remains current, in the last 10 years, there has been a significant evolution in preferred first-line therapies in the treatment of open-angle glaucoma with a resultant shift in practice patterns, particularly early in the course of the disease. These changes reflect both from the perspective of the doctor – in titrating the most effective and least risky treatment modality – and the perspective of the patient, in consenting to a treatment that preserves vision and results in minimal negative impact on quality of life. In this review, the most recent evidence regarding treatment modalities for early primary open-angle glaucoma is presented and an updated framework for management guidance is proposed.
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