Screening for Glaucoma in Adults: Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force

Roger Chou, Shelley Selph, Ian Blazina, Christina Bougatsos, Rebecca Jungbauer, Rongwei Fu, Sara Grusing, Daniel E. Jonas, Shandiz Tehrani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Importance: Two 2013 systematic reviews to inform the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) found insufficient evidence to assess benefits and harms of screening for primary open-angle glaucoma (OAG) in adults. Objective: To update the 2013 reviews on screening for glaucoma, to inform the USPSTF. Data Sources: Ovid MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (to February 2021); surveillance through January 21, 2022. Study Selection: Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of screening, referral, and treatment; and studies of screening test diagnostic accuracy. Data Extraction and Synthesis: One investigator abstracted data and a second checked accuracy. Two investigators independently assessed study quality. Results: Eighty-three studies (N = 75887) were included (30 trials and 53 diagnostic accuracy studies). One RCT (n = 616) found screening of frail elderly persons associated with no difference in vision outcomes vs no screening but with significantly greater falls risk (relative risk [RR], 1.31 [95% CI, 1.13-1.50]). No study evaluated referral to an eye health professional. For glaucoma diagnosis, spectral domain optical coherence tomography (providing high-resolution cross-sectional imaging; 15 studies, n = 4242) was associated with sensitivity of 0.79 (95% CI, 0.75-0.83) and specificity of 0.92 (95% CI, 0.87-0.96) and the Humphrey Visual Field Analyzer (for perimetry, or measurement of visual fields; 6 studies, n = 11244) with sensitivity of 0.87 (95% CI, 0.69-0.95) and specificity 0.82 (95% CI, 0.66-0.92); tonometry (for measurement of intraocular pressure; 13 studies, n = 32892) had low sensitivity (0.48 [95% CI, 0.31-0.66]). Medical therapy for ocular hypertension and untreated glaucoma was significantly associated with decreased intraocular pressure and decreased likelihood of glaucoma progression (7 trials, n = 3771; RR, 0.68 [95% CI, 0.49-0.96]; absolute risk difference -4.2%) vs placebo, but 1 trial (n = 461) found no differences in visual acuity, quality of life, or function. Selective laser trabeculoplasty and medical therapy had similar outcomes (4 trials, n = 957). Conclusions and Relevance: This review found limited direct evidence on glaucoma screening, showing no association with benefits. Screening tests can identify persons with glaucoma and treatment was associated with a lower risk of glaucoma progression, but evidence of improvement in visual outcomes, quality of life, and function remains lacking..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1998-2012
Number of pages15
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 24 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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