Psycho-ophthalmology: Contributions of Health psychology to the assessment and treatment of glaucoma

Jorge Luis Méndez-Ulrich, Antoni Sanz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Background: Asymptomatic in its early stages, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. While psychosocial factors are taken into consideration for a host of diseases such as cancer, heart disease and autoimmune conditions, to date, psychological issues have been ignored in the clinical management of glaucoma. Objective: This work reviews the most relevant contributions from a health psychology perspective for the assessment and treatment of glaucoma, which is emerging in the field of psycho-ophthalmology. Method: To provide scientific evidence regarding contributions of psychology to the comprehension of glaucoma, a bibliographic review of three databases (Psicodoc, PsycInfo and Medline) was conducted, spanning the period between 1940 and 2016. Results: This review yielded a total of 66 studies published in the period analysed and identified three areas where health psychology has made substantive contributions to glaucoma screening, monitoring and treatment: the emotional impact on patients suffering from glaucoma, the adherence to treatment and the effects of stress on intraocular pressure. Conclusions: A health psychology approach for research and therapy of glaucoma must focus on the management of the negative affect associated with the diagnosis, the optimisation of treatment adherence and the stress management of the intraocular pressure measurements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-342
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017


  • adherence
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • glaucoma
  • intraocular pressure
  • stress

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