Dr. Guy Eakin: Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that leads to damage of the optic nerve, which can then lead to vision loss and possibly blindness. More than three million Americans age 40 and over have glaucoma. By 2050 it's estimated that this number will double to six million. Take an active role in managing your health care by having an open conversation with your eye doctor.
Write down your questions ahead of time and don't leave the office without understanding medical recommendations for your condition, your doctor responsibilities and your responsibilities. Here are the top five questions to ask your doctor regarding your glaucoma diagnosis.
What kind of glaucoma do I have? There are many types of glaucoma and the treatment recommendations will vary depending on the form that you have. Your doctor can review the pros and cons of your treatment options so that you can make an informed decision.
Can you demonstrate for me how to properly use the medication eyedrops? Eyedrops are very common treatment for glaucoma, but they aren't always easy to administer. Your doctor can provide tips for how to properly use eyedrops so that they are most effective and side effects are reduced.
What kinds of side effects can result from taking glaucoma medications? Side effects vary by medications so it's important to speak with your doctor about your specific drug options and how they may react with other medications or supplements that you are taking.
Should I be taking any special precautions at home? Talk with your doctor about tips to improve lighting and suggestions that can make the home safer and more operational. There are also options for visual aids to help with daily activities.
Are you aware of any new information or research concerning glaucoma? New research is focused on lowering pressure inside the eye and finding medications to protect and preserve the optic nerve from damage that causes vision loss. Scientists are also investigating the role of genetics in glaucoma and over the last few years their understanding of this factor has really progressed.
Be sure to ask your doctor if he or she believes you would be a good candidate for any upcoming clinical trials. So with your next scheduled eye appointment be sure to ask your doctor these questions and take control of your glaucoma today.