Managing glaucoma from home
Posted: June 08, 2020 | Word Count: 1,091
Did you know that glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide?1 If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with this debilitating disease, you're probably aware of the need for consistent eye care and attention to your disease management plan.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most non-emergency doctor visits and in-patient procedures have been cancelled or postponed to reduce the risk of spreading the virus among patients and health care providers. Consequently, most ophthalmology practices are either closed or continuing to treat patients only remotely.
But those pandemic-related precautions do not mean suspending care for your glaucoma. It’s especially important to be aware of the disease’s warning signs and to seek medical help when you need it. Even if you have to stay at home, your ophthalmologist may be able to treat you through an online telehealth session, or perhaps over the phone.
If you’re currently being treated for glaucoma, call your doctor right away if you:
- Notice changes in your vision (like blurry, wavy or blank spots)
- See a lot of new floaters or flashes in your field of vision
- Suddenly lose some vision
- Have eye pain, headache, red eye, nausea and/or vomiting
The American Academy of Ophthalmology also recommends taking extra precautions during the COVID-19 situation, as the virus can spread through the eyes:2
- Avoid the urge to rub your eyes
- Adjust your glasses using a tissue instead of your fingers
- Before administering eye medicine, wash your hands with soap and water at least 20 seconds, and wash them again after using eye drops. Be careful not to let the medicine dropper touch your eyes or face.
The good news is that telemedicine has already reduced the need for in-person visits for many aspects of eye care. And the field of teleophthalmology continues to innovate through the creation of advanced apps and take-home devices, including virtual reality tools. Ophthalmologists are already starting to use these new technologies to help diagnose, assess and monitor serious eye conditions such as glaucoma and ocular hypertension.3
Telemedicine visits can also allow your ophthalmologist to monitor your condition remotely and even prescribe medications to treat your glaucoma.
One of the most recently available treatments is XELPROS™ (latanoprost ophthalmic emulsion) 0.005%, which is the only FDA-approved benzalkonium chloride-free ("BAK-free") formulation of latanaprost – a commonly used glaucoma medication. XELPROS has been shown to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP, or pressure inside the eye), which is often elevated in people with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. XELPROS delivers latanaprost with LIPIXELLE™, a novel micelle microemulsion formulation to help optimize absorption [see important safety information below].
"Benzalkonium chloride, or 'BAK,' is a common preservative in several glaucoma treatments, and can induce or exacerbate adverse reactions in certain patients," said I. Paul Singh, MD, President of The Eye Centers of Racine and Kenosha. "Those reactions can include eye redness, dry eye, loss of ocular surface glands, and other issues. The availability of a BAK-free glaucoma treatment is therefore a real benefit for many patients."
Another advantage of XELPROS is that it's easy to obtain this medication remotely using the XELPROS Xpress™ program. If you have a prescription, XELPROS Xpress makes sure you will get exactly the medication you were prescribed, and not some other product. XELPROS Xpress also allows your health care provider to write your prescription without obtaining any prior authorizations. Once you have your prescription, you can order a 1- to 3-month supply ahead of time, ensuring that you won't have any interruption of your treatment. What’s more, ordering a 3-month supply makes you eligible for a discount.
"Right now, when we need patients to avoid the risk of in-office visits and trips to the pharmacy, XELPROS Xpress is very convenient," adds Dr. Singh. "With much of the population staying at home, it's crucial for eye care professionals to be able to treat patients remotely not only to help protect their eye health, but also their overall health."
For more information about XELPROS and XELPROS Xpress, contact your eye doctor or visit www.xelpros.com.
INDICATIONS AND USAGE
XELPROS is indicated for the reduction of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
XELPROS is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to latanoprost, or any other ingredients in this product.
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Pigmentation: XELPROS may cause changes to pigmented tissues. The most frequently reported changes are increased pigmentation of the iris, periorbital tissue (eyelid), and eyelashes. Pigmentation is expected to increase as long as XELPROS is administered. After discontinuation of XELPROS iris pigmentation is likely to be permanent. Patients who receive treatment should be informed of the possibility of increased pigmentation. The long-term effects of increased pigmentation are not known.
Eyelash Changes: XELPROS may gradually cause changes to eyelashes, vellus hair in the treated eye including increased length, thickness, pigmentation and number of lashes. The changes are usually reversible upon discontinuation of treatment.
Intraocular Inflammation: XELPROS should be used with caution in patients with a history of intraocular inflammation (iritis/uveitis) and should generally not be used in patients with active intraocular inflammation.
Macular Edema: XELPROS should be used with caution in aphakic patients, in pseudophakic patients with a torn posterior lens capsule, or in patients with known risk factors for macular edema.
Herpetic Keratitis: XELPROS should be used with caution in patients with a history of herpetic keratitis. XELPROS should be avoided in cases of active herpes simplex keratitis because inflammation may be exacerbated.
Bacterial Keratitis: There have been reports of bacterial keratitis associated with the use of multiple-dose containers of topical ophthalmic products.
Use with Contact Lens: Contact lenses should be removed prior to administration of XELPROS and may be reinserted 15 minutes following administration.
The most common ocular adverse reactions reported in clinical trials (incidence ≥5%) for XELPROS are: eye pain/stinging, ocular hyperemia, conjunctival hyperemia, eye discharge, growth of eyelashes, and eyelash thickening.
Precipitation may occur if drugs containing thimerosal are used concomitantly with XELPROS. If such drugs are used, they should be administered at least five (5) minutes apart.
Please click here for Full Prescribing Information.
 Biggerstaff KS. Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). Medscape, 2018. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1206147-overview#a6. Accessed September 5, 2018.
 Mukamal R. Coronavirus eye safety. American Academy of Ophthalmology, EyeSmart, March 20, 2020. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/coronavirus-covid19-eye-infection-pinkeye. Accessed April 20, 2020.
 Misra P, Al-Aswad LA. Diagnosing and monitoring glaucoma with teleophthalmology. Glaucoma Today, March/April 2019. https://glaucomatoday.com/articles/2019-mar-apr/diagnosing-and-monitoring-glaucoma-with-teleophthalmology. Accessed April 20, 2020.