Questions to Ask Your Doctor

If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, obtaining treatment and following your treatment plan are essential to preserving your eyesight.

As a newly diagnosed person with glaucoma, you may need to have your eye pressure checked every week or month until it is under control. Even when your eye pressure is at a safe level, you may need to see your doctor several times a year for checkups.

It is important that your doctor listens and responds to your concerns and questions, is willing to explain your treatment options, and is available for calls and checkups. If you do not feel confident and comfortable with your doctor, remember, you always have the right to seek a second opinion. A good working relationship with your eye doctor facilitates effective treatment.

The most recent diagnostic and treatment advances won’t help if you don’t obtain and follow the instructions from your doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Ask questions about the medications, results and possible side effects. If side effects are intolerable, let your doctor(s) know as soon as possible so they can work on finding a more suitable medication.

Here are some specific questions you can ask to help you gather all of the information you need.

The Basics

  • 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?
  • Is it hereditary? What should I tell my family about my condition?
  • What is my expected prognosis?

Treatment

  • What are my treatment options?
  • Which ones are most appropriate for me? Why?
  • What are the possible risks and side effects of this treatment?
  • What could happen without treatment?
  • What medications do you recommend? Will they interact with any other medications or dietary supplements I am taking?
  • How long will this treatment last?
  • How will I know if the treatment is working?
  • How often will I need checkups?

Lifestyle Changes

  • Should I follow a special diet?
  • What type of exercise could help my condition?
  • What special precautions should I take when working or driving?
  • Which activities should I avoid?

Support

  • Can you recommend any glaucoma support groups?

More tips for working with your doctor

  1. Make sure you have the information you need. Detailed regimens can be hard to remember. Ask the doctor to write out the treatment plan in large clear letters, and if necessary, color-code the medications and instructions.
  2. Bring a friend to your appointment. Ask a friend or family member to come with you to your appointment and help you capture all the details. This can be especially helpful if your diagnosis is recent, since the diagnosis may create a shock-like state that makes it hard to absorb all the information the doctor provides.
  3. Write things down. In addition to taking your own notes at the doctor's office, keep a journal of drug reactions, their timing, etc. so you won't have to rely on memory at your next appointment.
  4. Utilize the medical support team. Trained staff at your doctor's office, such as nurses and technicians, can be an enormous support to helping you manage your disease. These knowledgeable professionals can often give you the information, time, and attention that can make a big difference.

Last reviewed on April 22, 2013

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