Will glasses help with glaucoma?

Glasses do not directly help glaucoma but may well be necessary anyway.

Do I have to get up in the night to take my glaucoma eye drops?

No. Having an undisturbed night is more important. If you have to take drops more than twice a day, put the drops in when you get up and when you go to bed and then space the other drops in between, during the day.

Do I need to put the drops in before I come to the clinic?

Yes. Always continue as usual unless requested otherwise. It helps the doctor to judge the effect of the treatment.

How important is it to put the drops in at exactly the time stated?

It is important to get into a routine and to put the drops in at around the same time each day, but the exact time is less important.

There are several ways to help yourself remember when to put your drops in:

  • A chart with tick boxes,

  • A box with compartments for the drop bottles,

  • A special timer can be set to ring several times each day as required. 

Does it matter if I put more drops into my eye than I should?

No, but try to keep it to the number prescribed. There is a small increased risk of general side effects if you use more drops than you should.

Is it safe to put in an extra drop just to make sure?

Yes, if you are not certain that the first drop went in, it is safe to put in another drop. In general, it is best to avoid putting in more than one drop.

What happens if I forget to take my drops when I go out?

Do not worry unduly if you forget on the odd occasion, but try to get into the habit of taking your drops with you wherever you go. If you have forgotten a drop, just put it in as soon as possible after the time it was due.

Where should I keep the drops and for how long?

Keep your drops in a cool place or in the door of the refrigerator, which is cool but not as cool as if they were put on one of the shelves. Do not place them in the freezer section.

The unopened bottle will have an expiry date. Once opened, drops will last about four weeks.

Most beta blocker drops are stable up to at least 25 degrees Celsius.

If I go on holiday and there is no fridge, where should I keep my drops?

Keep your drops in a cool place out of the light. An insulated pouch or cool wallet, available from the IGA, helps to keep the drops cool.

Can I do yoga exercises?

Yes, except for exercises involving the head being lower than the body for an appreciable time e.g. headstands. This tends to increase eye pressure.

Can I play wind instruments?

Playing a wind instrument such as a trumpet increases the eye pressure, but the effect will depend on how much, and how often, you play.

It is best to ask your eye specialist if it would be suitable in your particular case.

Can strong sunlight affect primary open angle glaucoma?

No, but if eyes are sensitive to strong light, then sunglasses can be helpful.

Can I play games like football and tennis or go swimming?

Following a recent trabeculectomy operation, you should avoid exercise which may involve the risk of eye infection or a blow to the eye. It is sensible to wear eye protection for any sport in which injury to the eye is a possibility.

Drops are absorbed soon after insertion so that after a few minutes they cannot be 'washed out' by swimming. However, even normal eyes can be irritated by the chlorine in swimming pool water.

Can I drink alcohol? Should I have a particular diet?

Yes, you can take any drink, alcoholic or soft. There is no scientifically established evidence that any particular food or vitamin helps. You should maintain a normal and balanced diet.

Can I take other medicines at the same time as my glaucoma treatment?

Patients with angle closure or narrow angle types of glaucoma should seek advice before taking some types of tranquilliser or certain asthma and indigestion medicines. However, these are usually safe if you have had laser treatment (iridotomy) or surgery (peripheral iridectomy).

Steroid (cortisone-type) drops and tablets should be used with caution because they can increase the pressure in the eye. If you have had a glaucoma operation, steroid drops or tablets are safer.

Some other tablets may interact with glaucoma treatments. Always mention to your doctor that you are having glaucoma treatment and your doctor will advise you.

If I have an operation for my glaucoma, will I still need drops/tablets afterwards?

You will need steroid and antibiotic drops for a period of time after the surgery.

Steroid drops are sometimes continued long-term.

The operation usually makes further treatment with glaucoma drops unnecessary. In about 20 per cent of cases, it may be necessary to start glaucoma drops again, even if the surgery was initially successful.

Should I let my eye doctor know if I develop other medical conditions?

Yes. It may influence the treatment they prescribe you.

Please remember that eye drops are powerful medications and that they can interact with other treatments.

Why do I have to see the eye specialist or attend the glaucoma clinic regularly?

It is important to attend regularly, even if your glaucoma is stable. The purpose of your visits is to monitor the glaucoma (through optic nerve appearance, visual field and eye pressure tests) to ensure that the treatment is working.

Primary open angle glaucoma and conjunctivitis: does it matter if I develop an eye infection causing a red sticky eye (conjunctivitis)?

Usually, this responds rapidly to treatment with antibiotic drops or ointment and presents no problems. However, if the eye has had a drainage operation (trabeculectomy), it should be taken more seriously because infection may spread along the new drainage channel formed by the operation and cause inflammation inside the eye.

An ophthalmologist's opinion is indicated without delay so that intensive treatment can be commenced, if necessary, at an early stage.