Talking to Your Doctor About Glaucoma
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You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with glaucoma. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What type of glaucoma do I have?
- Did something cause my condition? And if so, what?
- How will my vision be affected now and in the future?
About Your Risk of Developing Glaucoma
- Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for glaucoma?
- How often should I get a comprehensive eye examination to screen for glaucoma and other eye diseases?
- Who else in my family is at increased risk of having glaucoma? How often should they get a comprehensive eye exam?
About Treatment Options
- What treatments are used with glaucoma?
- Which treatment options are appropriate for me? Why?
- How long will my treatment last?
- What risks and side effects are associated with my treatment?
- What is likely to happen without treatment?
What medication options are available to me?
- What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
- Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I am already taking?
- Are there any complementary or alternative therapies available to me?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Should I follow a special diet?
- If dietary changes are advised, how should I go about making them?
- Will exercise help my condition? And if so, what type of exercise?
- Can you recommend any glaucoma support groups?
- What are the chances my treatment will be effective?
- How will I know that my treatment has been effective?
- What can I tell my husband, children, parents, and other family members and friends about my condition?
- What is my expected prognosis?
- How often will I need checkups?
American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.aao.org/ .
National Eye Institute website. Available at: http://www.nei.nih.gov/ .
Last reviewed June 2008 by ]]>Marcin Chwistek, MD]]>
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