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What rates of glaucoma progression are clinically significant?

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Clinically important rates of glaucoma progression (worsening) are ones that put a patient at risk of future functional impairment or reduction of vision-related quality of life. Rates of progression can be evaluated through measuring structural or functional changes of the optic nerve. Most treated eyes do not progress at rates that will lead to future visual impairment, but there are a significant proportion (3-17%) of eyes, that are at risk of impairment even under clinical care. While very fast rates of progression (e.g. MD progression of -1.5 dB/year) are generally problematic, much slower rates also may be deleterious for young patients, particularly those diagnosed with late disease. As a result, it is important to consider life expectancy, disease severity and vision-related quality of life based treatment targets to estimate future prognosis when evaluating whether a rate of glaucoma progression can be clinically relevant.

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