Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. It results in a progressive loss of peripheral vision and, in late stages, loss of central vision leading to blindness. Early treatment of glaucoma aims to prevent or delay vision loss. Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is the main causal modifiable risk factor for glaucoma. Aqueous outflow obstruction is the main cause of IOP elevation, which can be mitigated either by increasing outflow or reducing aqueous humor production. Cyclodestructive procedures use various methods to target and destroy the ciliary body epithelium, the site of aqueous humor production, thereby lowering IOP. The most common approach is laser cyclophotocoagulation.
To assess the effectiveness and safety of cyclodestructive procedures for the management of non-refractory glaucoma (i.e. glaucoma in an eye that has not undergone incisional glaucoma surgery). We also aimed to compare the effect of different routes of administration, laser delivery instruments, and parameters of cyclophotocoagulation with respect to IOP control, visual acuity, pain control, and adverse events.
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (which contains the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Trials Register) (2017, Issue 8); Ovid MEDLINE; Embase.com; LILACS; the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) and ClinicalTrials.gov. The date of the search was 7 August 2017. We also searched the reference lists of reports from included studies.
We included randomized controlled trials of participants who had undergone cyclodestruction as a primary treatment for glaucoma. We included only head-to-head trials that had compared cyclophotocoagulation to other procedural interventions, or compared cyclophotocoagulation using different types of lasers, delivery methods, parameters, or a combination of these factors.
Two review authors independently screened search results, assessed risks of bias, extracted data, and graded the certainty of the evidence in accordance with Cochrane standards.
We included one trial (92 eyes of 92 participants) that evaluated the efficacy of diode transscleral cyclophotocoagulation (TSCPC) as primary surgical therapy. We identified no other eligible ongoing or completed trial. The included trial compared low-energy versus high-energy TSCPC in eyes with primary open-angle glaucoma. The trial was conducted in Ghana and had a mean follow-up period of 13.2 months post-treatment. In this trial, low-energy TSCPC was defined as 45.0 J delivered, high-energy as 65.5 J delivered; it is worth noting that other trials have defined high- and low-energy TSCPC differently. We assessed this trial to have had low risk of selection bias and reporting bias, unclear risk of performance bias, and high risk of detection bias and attrition bias. Trial authors excluded 13 participants with missing follow-up data; the analyses therefore included 40 (85%) of 47 participants in the low-energy group and 39 (87%) of 45 participants in the high-energy group.Control of IOP, defined as a decrease in IOP by 20% from baseline value, was achieved in 47% of eyes, at similar rates in the low-energy group and the high-energy groups; the small study size creates uncertainty about the significance of the difference, if any, between energy settings (risk ratio (RR) 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.64 to 1.65; 79 participants; low-certainty evidence). The difference in effect between energy settings based on mean decrease in IOP, if any exists, also was uncertain (mean difference (MD) -0.50 mmHg, 95% CI -5.79 to 4.79; 79 participants; low-certainty evidence).Decreased vision was defined as the proportion of participants with a decrease of 2 or more lines on the Snellen chart or one or more categories of visual acuity when unable to read the eye chart. Twenty-three percent of eyes had a decrease in vision. The size of any difference between the low-energy group and the high-energy group was uncertain (RR 1.22, 95% CI 0.54 to 2.76; 79 participants; low-certainty evidence). Data were not available for mean visual acuity and proportion of participants with vision change defined as greater than 1 line on the Snellen chart.The difference in the mean number of glaucoma medications used after cyclophotocoagulation was similar when comparing treatment groups (MD 0.10, 95% CI -0.43 to 0.63; 79 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). Twenty percent of eyes were retreated; the estimated effect of energy settings on the need for retreatment was inconclusive (RR 0.76, 95% CI 0.31 to 1.84; 79 participants; low-certainty evidence). No data for visual field, cost effectiveness, or quality-of-life outcomes were reported by the trial investigators.Adverse events were reported for the total study population, rather than by treatment group. The trial authors stated that most participants reported mild to moderate pain after the procedure, and many had transient conjunctival burns (percentages not reported). Severe iritis occurred in two eyes and hyphema occurred in three eyes. No instances of hypotony or phthisis bulbi were reported. The only adverse outcome that was reported by the treatment group was atonic pupil (RR 0.89 in the low-energy group, 95% CI 0.47 to 1.68; 92 participants; low-certainty evidence).
There is insufficient evidence to evaluate the relative effectiveness and safety of cyclodestructive procedures for the primary procedural management of non-refractory glaucoma. Results from the one included trial did not compare cyclophotocoagulation to other procedural interventions and yielded uncertainty about any difference in outcomes when comparing low-energy versus high-energy diode TSCPC. Overall, the effect of laser treatment on IOP control was modest and the number of eyes experiencing vision loss was limited. More research is needed specific to the management of non-refractory glaucoma.