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Chronic Open Angle Glaucoma: a Biopsychosocial Approach to Patient Care

02 August 2023
Volume 28 · Issue 8


It is estimated that 2.2 billion people are affected by impaired vision resulting from eye conditions. Chronic open angle glaucoma (COAG) is one such condition, which primarily affects older adults, and is linked to other factors such as genetic predisposition, high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking. By 2025, it is projected that 44% of the UK’s ageing population will have COAG. Vision loss due to this condition is irreversible. In this article, Penelope Stanford discusses the bioscience of COAG, and provides information on access to care and patient interventions.

Glaucoma is an umbrella term for an eye condition that can potentially lead to a visual impairment, which is permanent. This article presents a discussion of the most common type of glaucoma to affect the older age group—chronic open angle glaucoma (COAG), also known as primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). The discussion takes a biopsychosocial approach to facilitate connections to holistic patient care.

The ageing world population is rapidly increasing. In 2019, 9% of the population were over 65 years and the United Nations expect this figure to almost double to 16% by 2050. An acceleration of older adults implies that people live longer and therefore, will be susceptible to age-related health conditions. Ageing is a known risk factor for many eye conditions (WHO, 2022). Further projections, specifically regarding COAG in the UK, suggest that by 2025, 44% of the aging population will have the condition (Royal College of Ophthalmologists, 2021). Some eye conditions can cause impaired vision, which affects 2.2 billion people globally (WHO, 2022). COAG is one such condition and community nurses’ (CNs) caseloads are likely to have patients with this eye condition.

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