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Though it may seem obvious that patients who don't take their medication won't achieve the desired results, it is estimated that up to 25% of glaucoma patients take none of their medication.
Another sizable percentage don't take all of it or take it improperly. Unfortunately, some glaucoma patients have a particularly tough time with compliance (the term for following a medication regimen).
An important goal of glaucoma treatment is to prevent further vision loss. However, a treated glaucoma patient often cannot immediately tell whether or not treatment is successful because there is not a fast and dramatic outcome. Compounding the problem is the fact that many glaucoma medications have side effects that range from unpleasant to disabling. And what's more, glaucoma is a chronic disease often requiring many years of treatment, which can be inconvenient and expensive. The result: many patients simply "forget" to take their medication.
Another problem is when patients take medication incorrectly - too much, too little, at the wrong time, etc. This isn't entirely surprising since many glaucoma regimens are not easy to follow and require multiple medications taken every day at very specific intervals. But when taken improperly the full effect will not be obtained. For example, not waiting at least five minutes between taking different eye drop medications (so that they don't wash each other out of the eye) is a common mistake.
Compliance with your medication regimen is, indeed, critical. After all, the most recent diagnostic and treatment advances are to no benefit if patients are non-compliant. In fact, non-compliance has been suggested by some to be a leading cause of glaucoma blindness.
Seven tips to help make it easier to stay compliant with your
Last reviewed on March 07, 2011