Glaucoma Care and Treatment
When you have the facts about glaucoma, you can take charge of your health with a few adjustments to your routine. Caring for your eyes may include medication, surgery, or a combination of treatments.
If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, what can you do to manage your eye condition over the long term?
The one most important thing you can do is to see your eye doctor for regular checkups. Most forms of glaucoma do not have any symptoms until advanced stages so usually you will be unable to tell how your glaucoma is doing.
Your doctor will check not only your IOP (intraocular pressure) but will also use other specialized tests to monitor your glaucoma. Regular checkups with your eye doctor are the key to managing your eye health.
What about between checkups? If you are taking drops to manage your glaucoma, it is important to use them according to your doctor’s directions.
Studies with glaucoma patients have shown that many people don’t use their drops as directed, often not spacing them properly, or not using the drops until just before their doctor’s appointment. Also, always refill your prescription when you run out of your drop(s) unless directed otherwise.
Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan
Be sure you understand the directions. Be honest with your doctor if you have forgotten to take your drops or if you are unable to afford them. Communicate any concerns or fears you may have. Your eye doctor is your partner in treating your glaucoma.
As time goes by, make it a point to discuss your treatment plan with him or her to determine whether any changes might be required in order to further reduce your IOP or to reduce unwanted side effects.
Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions and report any new medications. Eye drops are real medicine and can interact with other drugs. Tell any other doctors you may see for non eye-related health problems that you are taking medication for glaucoma, too.
Make sure you understand what kind of glaucoma you have. Read brochures and websites about glaucoma and consider joining a local glaucoma support group.
Let Your Family Know
Not only can family be supportive but they should know to have their eyes checked regularly by an eye care professional — relatives of people with glaucoma are known to be at higher risk for the disease.
Practice a Healthy Lifestyle
Take walks and exercise regularly. Eat healthy foods. Your overall health is just as important as taking care of your eyes. Making healthy choices, seeing your eye doctor for check ups and following your recommended course of treatment will help you to continue to live your life fully.