If you are being treated for glaucoma, be sure to take your glaucoma medicine every day. See your eye care professional regularly.You also can help protect the vision of family members and friends who may be at high risk for glaucoma-African Americans over age 40; everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans; and people with a family history of the disease. Encourage them to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years. Remember that lowering eye pressure in the early stages of glaucoma slows progression of the disease and helps save vision.

Medicare covers an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam for some people at high risk for glaucoma. These people include those with diabetes, those with a family history of glaucoma, and African Americans age 50 and older.

What should I ask my eye care professional?

You can protect yourself against vision loss by working in partnership with your eye care professional. Ask questions and get the information you need to take care of yourself and your family.

What are some questions to ask?

About my eye disease or disorder…

  • What is my diagnosis?
  • What caused my condition?
  • Can my condition be treated?
  • How will this condition affect my vision now and in the future?
  • Should I watch for any particular symptoms and notify you if they occur?
  • Should I make any lifestyle changes?

About my treatment…

  • What is the treatment for my condition?
  • When will the treatment start and how long will it last?
  • What are the benefits of this treatment and how successful is it?
  • What are the risks and side effects associated with this treatment?
  • Are there foods, medicines, or activities I should avoid while I’m on this treatment?
  • If my treatment includes taking medicine, what should I do if I miss a dose?
  • Are other treatments available?

About my tests…

  • What kinds of tests will I have?
  • What can I expect to find out from these tests?
  • When will I know the results?
  • Do I have to do anything special to prepare for any of the tests?
  • Do these tests have any side effects or risks?
  • Will I need more tests later?

Other suggestions

  • If you don’t understand your eye care professional’s responses, ask questions until you do understand.
  • Take notes or get a friend or family member to take notes for you. Or, bring a tape recorder to help you remember the discussion.
  • Ask your eye care professional to write down his or her instructions to you.
  • Ask your eye care professional for printed material about your condition.
  • If you still have trouble understanding your eye care professional’s answers, ask where you can go for more information.
  • Other members of your healthcare team, such as nurses and pharmacists, can be good sources of information. Talk to them, too.

Today, patients take an active role in their health care. Be an active patient about your eye care.