Have Glaucoma and Need to Switch Eye Docs? Here’s What You Need to Do

TUESDAY, Aug. 7, 2018 — If you have glaucoma and need to find a new ophthalmologist, creating a personal data portfolio will help ensure a smooth transition in the care of your eye disease.

The Glaucoma Research Foundation suggests the portfolio should include: your specific type of glaucoma; when you were diagnosed and how (elevated eye pressure, optic nerve damage or visual field tests); and whether anyone else in your family has the disease, including whether any lost vision or needed surgery.

The portfolio should also outline medicines and treatments you’re using or have tried, which ones failed and why. In addition, list any eye surgeries you have had and describe their effectiveness. Laser surgeries leave few or no clues for new ophthalmologists. Include the dates and who did each procedure.

It’s also important to bring an up-to-date list of all medications (not just those for glaucoma) to every doctor visit, according to a foundation news release.

Finally, you should get copies of all your records, including eye pressure at time of diagnosis and highest pressure recorded; high-quality printouts of visual field test results; and all photos and scans of your optic nerve.

Scans are normally done in color, and black and white copies are nearly useless, the foundation pointed out. Get high-quality color copies that you can deliver by hand to your new ophthalmologist.

Glaucoma usually happens when fluid pressure inside the eyes rises over time, damaging the optic nerve. It’s a leading cause of blindness in the United States.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more on glaucoma.

Posted: August 2018

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