Evaluating primary treatment for people presenting with advanced glaucoma: 5-year results of the Treatment of Advanced Glaucoma Study

Anthony J King, Jemma Hudson, Augusto Azuara-Blanco, Jennifer Burr, Ashleigh Kernohant, Tara Homer, Hosein Shabaninejad, John M Sparrow, David Garway-Heath, Keith Barton, John Norrie, Tracey Davidson, Luke Vale, Graeme MacLennan, TAGS Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To determine whether primary trabeculectomy or medical treatment produces better outcomes in terms of quality of life (QoL), clinical effectiveness, and safety in patients with advanced glaucoma.

Multicenter randomized controlled trial.

Between June 3, 2014, and May 31, 2017, 453 adults with newly diagnosed advanced open-angle glaucoma in at least 1 eye (Hodapp classification) were recruited from 27 secondary care glaucoma departments in the United Kingdom. Two hundred twenty-seven were allocated to trabeculectomy, and 226 were allocated medical management.

Participants were randomized on a 1:1 basis to have either mitomycin C-augmented trabeculectomy or escalating medical management with intraocular pressure (IOP)-reducing drops as the primary intervention and were followed up for 5 years.

Main Outcome Measures
The primary outcome was vision-specific QoL measured with the 25-item Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ-25) at 5 years. Secondary outcomes were general health status, glaucoma-related QoL, clinical effectiveness (IOP, visual field, and visual acuity), and safety.

At 5 years, the mean ± standard deviation VFQ-25 scores in the trabeculectomy and medication arms were 83.3 ± 15.5 and 81.3 ± 17.5, respectively, and the mean difference was 1.01 (95% confidence interval [CI], –1.99 to 4.00; P = 0.51). The mean IOPs were 12.07 ± 5.18 mmHg and 14.76 ± 4.14 mmHg, respectively, and the mean difference was –2.56 (95% CI, –3.80 to –1.32; P < 0.001). Glaucoma severity measured with visual field mean deviation were –14.30 ± 7.14 dB and –16.74 ± 6.78 dB, respectively, with a mean difference of 1.87 (95% CI, 0.87–2.87 dB; P < 0.001). Safety events occurred in 115 (52.2%) of patients in the trabeculectomy arm and 124 (57.9%) of patients in the medication arm (relative risk, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.72–1.19; P = 0.54). Serious adverse events were rare.

At 5 years, the Treatment of Advanced Glaucoma Study demonstrated that primary trabeculectomy surgery is more effective in lowering IOP and preventing disease progression than primary medical treatment in patients with advanced disease and has a similar safety profile.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date09 Jan 2024
Publication statusEarly online date - 09 Jan 2024


  • randomised controlled trial
  • visual field loss
  • quality of life
  • open angle glaucoma
  • intraocular pressure


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