If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with glaucoma, you may be left with a lot of questions. For many, the biggest one is “who should treat my glaucoma?”
Finding the right physician may be different for everyone – perhaps you were referred by your optometrist, you may have a family member or friend who is an ophthalmologist, or you simply found a specialist on the internet. If you have been diagnosed by an optometrist, it’s only natural that your next step is to find a doctor to treat your condition. Regardless of how you find your doctor, it’s important to find the one that is right for you.
Why You Should Make an Appointment with a Glaucoma Specialist
Taking advice from a doctor who specializes in glaucoma can help you learn more about the condition and the proper steps to take if you have been diagnosed. Specialists who are familiar with treating glaucoma will have more training and insight into potential treatment options for their patients. Don’t just take out word for it! We recently connected with Dr. Jonathan Haymore, of Multicare Rockwood Eye Surgery Center in Spokane, Washington, who specializes in cataracts and glaucoma with a focus on diagnosing and treating patients in laser and surgical glaucoma management. Here is what he has to say about the importance of detecting glaucoma early and what can happen if it is left untreated:
“The hardest thing about glaucoma is that there are no symptoms until it is already in an advanced stage. You can damage a large part of your optic nerve before it ever becomes apparent in your peripheral vision loss. I lose sleep over a few memorable patients that the first time they came into the office they already had large blind spots from undetected glaucoma. With glaucoma, once the damage is done it cannot be reversed. However, the good news is we have so many ways to detect it early that much of the effects can be avoided. Again, the key is to have regular eye exams where early warning signs can be detected.”
A glaucoma diagnosis can be overwhelming, especially if your physician mentioned multiple available treatment options. If you have glaucoma and cataracts, your doctor likely mentioned treatment options you may be eligible for, including iStent inject® W. The iStent inject® W is one of the smallest medical devices known to be implanted in the human body and can help reduce pressure in the eye that is caused by glaucoma. By reducing pressure in the eye, you may be able to lessen or eliminate the need for glaucoma medication, such as daily eye drops, at the discretion of a physician. Around the world, iStent inject® W has helped numerous people with glaucoma successfully manage their eye pressure. By taking advantage of this opportunity during cataract surgery, you can treat both conditions at the same time.
Finding The Right Specialist
After being diagnosed with glaucoma, your optometrist or ophthalmologist may recommend you visit a specialist within their list of referrals network of physicians they trust. However, if you are not provided with a referral or are unable to make an appointment for whatever reason, you may be looking for a new doctor. There are also a few things you may need to take into consideration when it comes to finding a new physician including: insurance coverage, distance, and available treatment options. Before making an appointment, it’s important you are comfortable finding a physician near you and that they are accepting your insurance, so you are not surprised with unexpected out-of-pocket costs.
To help you find a glaucoma specialist in your area, we put together a physician locator tool. The Living with Glaucoma physician locator includes only U.S. physicians that are performing iStent inject® W. Simply enter your zip code, city, or state in the search field and you will be provided with a list of all of the glaucoma specialists in your area. On the other hand, if you already have a physician and are not sure if they are offering Stent inject® W, head to our locator to make sure your doctor is listed!
Be Prepared for Your Appointment
Once you’ve found a physician and made your appointment, you may be wondering how you can prepare to meet with your doctor. Before your appointment, there are a few things you can do so you are not caught off guard or it is not as beneficial as you would like. As you head into your appointment with your glaucoma, make sure you’re prepared with the following:
- List any symptoms you’ve been having and include the length of time you have been experiencing each.
- List any history you may have with eye problems, such as vision changes, other eye conditions you’ve been diagnosed with, and any eye discomfort. Also, list any eye problems your relatives may have.
- Write down your medical information, including other conditions such as diabetes or vascular issues you may have, and all medications and supplements you’re currently taking. Also, write down any history of eye trauma.
- Write down any questions you may have for your eye care professional, so you remember them. This will also help you make the most of your appointment. Potential questions can include:
- What kind of glaucoma do I have?
- Will my vision continue to decline?
- What kind of lifestyle changes will I need to make?
- What treatment options are available to me?
- Are you offering the iStent inject® W?
- How long does treatment take?
- Do I need to start a special diet?
- How long will my recovery take?
Make an Appointment Today!
A glaucoma diagnosis can be scary, but there’s no need to worry! There are skilled physicians available to help you understand the condition and discuss available treatment options. If you have glaucoma and cataracts, talk to your eye care professional today to find out if iStent inject® W is right for you. If you’re looking for one in your area, try our physician locator.
Leading ophthalmologists across the country offer iStent technology, including the most recently FDA-approved iStent inject® W for the treatment of mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma during cataract surgery. Follow Living with Glaucoma on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more information on glaucoma and available treatment options.