More Glaucoma FAQs

Each person's glaucoma is unique. The following comments are intended to be a starting point for discussion with your glaucoma physician.

If my insurance doesn't cover the drop my eye doctor prescribed, should I not take it?

If you are prescribed a medication that is not a “preferred” medication on your insurance plan and there is a similar medication within that class that is cheaper you may be able to switch. With the information of the substitution in hand, call your glaucoma physician. A classic example would be Xalatan, Travatan Z, and Lumigan. Each insurance plan is unique in that one agent may be cheaper for you even though they are very similar.

If a medicine says 'don't take if you have glaucoma' should I take it?

Common medications have package labeling that urges caution in the face of a diagnosis of glaucoma. Although there are many kinds of glaucoma, in general the warning relates to the configuration of your drain within your eye (angle). If you have a narrow angle (ask your glaucoma physician if you do), you should avoid medication such as cold, cough, and urinary medication (anticholinergics). Read the label carefully of medications you take and discuss this with your physician if you are unsure. Any pain, blurry vision, headache, or nausea accompanied by the use of these medications should be discussed with your physician.

If my vision doesn't get better when I take my drops, do I still have to take them?

Most glaucoma has no discernable symptoms. There is no pain, no perceived loss of vision, and no redness. When the disease is very advanced, then an individual may notice the loss of vision. One of the most important principles of glaucoma care is the treat the disease before the patient starts to notice the loss of vision. Taking your medication as prescribed to save your vision cannot be overemphasized.

Can my doctor prescribe marijuana to help my pressure?

Although many people have heard of marijuana being prescribed for glaucoma, scientific study has not shown this to be effective. The pressure reduction is small and very short lived. Even isolating the active ingredient has not been proven well enough to result in a commercially viable product in the United States.

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Article by Rohit Krishna, MD. Dr. Krishna is a clinician, educator and researcher at the Eye Foundation/Vision Research Center of Kansas City and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Medicine, where he is Director of the Glaucoma service and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology.

Last reviewed on May 14, 2013

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