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Talking to Your Doctor About Glaucoma

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with glaucoma. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
  • 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?
  • Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for glaucoma?
  • How often should I get a comprehensive eye examination to screen for glaucoma and other eye diseases?
  • Who else in my family is at increased risk of having glaucoma? How often should they get a comprehensive eye exam?
  • What treatments are used with glaucoma?
  • Which treatment options are appropriate for me? Why?
  • How long will my treatment last?
  • What risks and side effects are associated with my treatment?
  • What is likely to happen without treatment?
  • What medication options are available to me?
    • What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
    • Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I am already taking?
  • Are there any complementary or alternative therapies available to me?
  • Can you recommend any glaucoma support groups?
  • What are the chances my treatment will be effective?
  • How will I know that my treatment has been effective?
  • What can I tell my spouse, children, parents, and other family members and friends about my condition?
  • What is my expected prognosis?
  • How often will I need checkups?

Revision Information

  • Questions to ask your doctor. Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.glaucoma.org/treatment/working-with-your-doctor.php. Accessed July 16, 2013.

  • Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated November 2010. Accessed July 26, 2013.