Although there are millions of people across the world who suffer from eye problems, many people forget to take the medication required to treat and manage their condition and, as such, are putting themselves at risk.
With this in mind, a recent study sought to determine whether adherence of medication instructions could be improved by methods such as telephone reminders.
The study was led by Dr Karen Glanz, from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, who enrolled 312 patients with glaucoma in a randomised controlled trial at two eye clinics at a Veterans Affairs hospital and a large public hospital.
The patients had average age of 63 years and were considered to be nonadherent because they did not take their medication, refill their medicine or keep their medical appointments.
Study participants were divided into either the treatment or control group, with the treatment group receiving automated, interactive telephone calls and tailored printed materials, while the control group received usual care, which included the recommendation for medical appointments and medication refills.
Researchers measured adherence to medication taking, prescription refills and appointment keeping based on interviews, medical charts and other data, with the results published in online in Archives of Ophthalmology, a JAMA Network publication.
The authors write: "A statistically significant increase for all adherence measures was noted in both the treatment group and the control group in the I-SIGHT (Interactive Study to Increase Glaucoma Adherence to Treatment) trial."
However, although the treatment group had greater improvements in adherence in four of six categories, this did not reach statistical significance, they added.
Researchers have suggested that "motivated patients" in an ongoing clinical trial might improve their treatment adherence even without tailored messages for encouragement.
The experts added: "New technologies, such as interactive voice recognition and electronic reminder devices, may play a supportive role in the effort to improve adherence in patients with glaucoma, but further study is warranted."