Why is follow-up so important for patients with Glaucoma?

Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with glaucoma? One of the first things that an eye doctor will tell a glaucoma patient is that they are never supposed to stop the glaucoma medications without medical advice. Sounds stressful? Don’t worry! Let me help you understand why this is important.

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Today is Day #7 and the last day of World Glaucoma Week 2022.

Let me take this opportunity to stress upon the importance of compliance and follow-up in glaucoma patients.

Keeping your eye pressure under control

Most patients of glaucoma often ask me, “Doctor, I’ve been using the eyedrops as advised but still I see no change in my vision.”

“No change in vision” is actually a good thing! It means that there is no worsening of vision.

You need to understand that the vision lost due to glaucoma cannot be recovered by any means. The best that can be done for a glaucoma patient is to preserve the vision they have left. And keeping the eye pressure under control is of paramount importance.

I’ve achieved target pressure, now what?

If you have achieved the target pressure set by your doctor for you, it means that you are currently receiving optimum treatment and your vision most likely won’t deteriorate further.

On your part, first, you need to ensure that you stick to your medication schedules and instill the eyedrops correctly as advised by your doctor.

Second and equally important point is that you need to follow up regularly with your eye doctor.

Why is follow up needed?

A patient may be maintained at target pressure at one of two anti-glaucoma medications. However, over time, it has been observed that the prescribed amount of medications fail to control the patient’s eye pressure.

In such cases, the doctor will examine your optic nerve, measure your eye pressure and may advise a visual field test to look for progressive deterioration.

What are the signs of worsening glaucoma?

Raised eye pressure, increase in optic nerve cupping and increased areas of vision loss as detected by a visual field test indicate that the patient’s glaucoma is poorly controlled.

Often this occurs due to poor compliance to medications. Since most patients are asymptomatic in early stages, they often tend to miss their medications.

If your eye doctor confirms a progression of the disease, they will add on one of two more anti-glaucoma drugs to keep your eye pressure under control.

What are my options if my eye pressure isn’t controlled in spite of maximal possible medical treatment?

You have the option of laser procedures, surgery and glaucoma drainage implants.

I’ve listed the details of these treatment options in my other post.

How often and for how long do I need to follow up?

The frequency of follow-up will be decided by your treating doctor. Usually patients who are well controlled on medication are called for a visit every 6 months. In certain cases, your doctor may ask you to follow up at shorter intervals.

The follow up has to be maintained life long. Glaucoma is a disease that never goes away. It can only be controlled to protect your precious vision.

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The world is beautiful! Don’t let glaucoma steal your vision!

I hope, through my 7 posts on 7 days of this World Glaucoma Week, I’ve been able to create awareness regarding this silent blinding disease.

If you’ve been following me on all 7 days, do help the community by sharing this knowledge, so that no one ever goes blind due to glaucoma.

If you have any questions about glaucoma or eye health in general, don’t hesitate to ask in a comment below or email me at neha.pednekar1489@gmail.com

I’ll see you next week with an interesting eye related blog topic. Till then take good care of your eyes and stay healthy.

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