You need to start preparing a list of questions you need to ask your Reno glaucoma specialist. You should do this even before you or anyone of your family members get diagnosed with the disease. This way, you will have a guide when you visit your doctor and you are less likely to miss major details. Listed below are 7 of the essential questions that you should ask your doctor.
View more about glaucoma in the video below:
1. What type of glaucoma do I have?
You need to ask an optometrist specializing in glaucoma what specific type of glaucoma you might be suffering from. There are two main types of glaucoma. Each one has different manifestations and possible symptoms.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the condition. It is also known as wide-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma occurs when the trabecular meshwork or the drain-like structure in your eye does not allow fluid to flow properly. This causes pressure to build up on your optic nerve.
Although it can also occur in Western patients, angle-closure glaucoma is often diagnosed in Asian patients. Patients with this type of glaucoma often have a narrow space between their irises and their corneas. As a result, the fluids are not able to drain properly. This then causes pressure to accumulate in your eyes. Other names for this type of glaucoma are: chronic angle-closure glaucoma, acute glaucoma, and narrow-angle glaucoma.
Doctors associate this type of glaucoma associated with other eye conditions. This is due to the fact that the cause of this glaucoma is the shape of the eye. Among the eye conditions linked to angle-closure glaucoma are cataracts and farsightedness.
2. What are the treatment methods available?
The most common ways to treat glaucoma are prescription eye drops, laser surgery, and microsurgery.
Prescription eye drops
Doctors prescribe specific eye drops to either increase the outflow of the fluid in your eye or to reduce its flow and possible build up. The prescription will depend on the type or severity of your condition.
Doctors recommend this for patients with open-angle glaucoma. Laser surgery can increase the outflow of fluid from your eye. This treatment can also prevent fluid or pressure build up in patients with angle-closure glaucoma. Three main procedures fall under surgical treatment:
Trabeculoplasty- where a drainage area is created in the eye
Iridotomy- where a hole is made in the iris to enable easier fluid outflow
Cyclophotocoagulation where the middle eye layers are treated to lessen their fluid production
Trabeculectomy is the only microsurgery procedure for glaucoma. The doctor chooses to either create a channel in your eye or implant a small tube. Either one of these options will drain the fluid from your eye and lessen the pressure.
3. What are the benefits of these treatments?
Prevention is always the best step to ensure that you will not lose your vision. If you already have glaucoma, these treatments can help repair damage and restore your vision. This includes any loss in your peripheral vision from the early stages of your condition. These treatments can also relieve or completely remove the pressure build up in your eye. They can also prevent these conditions from developing again. You can ask your doctor about the specific benefits of each treatment so you can decide which one is best for you.
4. What are the risks and possible side effects of these treatment methods?
There are pros and cons for each treatment for glaucoma. For your peace of mind, it is best that you also consider the risks that you will be facing with each method. Knowing the risks will also help you prepare to manage the effects the right way.
Some of the side effects that can occur from taking these eye drops include:
Darkening of the eyelids
Stinging of the eyes
You also have to be wary of medications that may affect your internal organs like your heart and lungs. Ask your Reno glaucoma specialist if the medication he is prescribing is safe for you. Also ask about possible allergic reactions you can have when you use eye drops. If you are currently taking medications and supplements for other conditions, you also have to tell your doctor about them. They might not interact well with the eye drops prescribed to you.
There are many things that can go wrong when it comes to surgical operations on such a delicate part of the body. In some cases, the doctor needs to perform the surgery again. There’s also the risk that you can have permanent loss of vision or an infection if the surgery does not go well.
5. Are there food/drugs/activities that should be avoided while undergoing treatment?
Glaucoma patients are generally not subject to a lot of restrictions. Ask your doctor if there are special precautions that you need to take to avoid aggravating your condition. Ask about lifestyle factors like nutrition, proper exercise, stress management, and supplementation. You can do your own research too on how you can manage the effects of your condition and treatment.
6. What is the outlook for glaucoma patients?
There are currently no methods that can restore your vision once you lose it. The treatments are can only repair your eyes to a certain extent and give you relief from your symptoms. You need to undergo regular eye exams and follow your treatment plan as soon as you get your diagnosis. You can lessen the chances of permanent vision loss when you do this.
7. Aside from my glaucoma doctor, who else can help me with my treatment and rehabilitation?
Aside from your friends and family, you can also count on your optometrist team for support. The members of your specialist team are highly skilled and knowledgeable about your condition. They can help you understand and get through all the difficult information that you might find hard to grasp. They can also give you much needed time and attention for you to come to terms with what your treatments entail.
More than anything else, it is important that you trust that your doctor will be able to provide you with the answers and support that you need. Do not settle for a doctor who is not willing to take your follow-up calls, to accommodate your questions, or to give you more check-ups. Look for a Reno glaucoma specialist that can make you feel comfortable. You should feel confident that your specialist and his team can indeed provide you with the treatment that you need.
The eye care specialists at Black Rock Vision Center in Reno, NV provide expert care for patients suffering from glaucoma. Contact us today to learn more.