Glaucoma: The Patient Journey

12 MAR 2020

Eye health

Glaucoma management can be a major challenge for a patient.

Whilst a person must adhere to the advice from their eye care professional about how to take their medication, often, as it is with many other chronic diseases, glaucoma can have poor patient adherence.

In fact, it is estimated that one-third of glaucoma patients don’t take their medication as prescribed.

To help improve care management, there are four key stages a patient goes through in the glaucoma journey.

Stage One: Seeing eye care professionals

Once you’ve seen your optometrist and they suspect glaucoma, they will provide you with a glaucoma treatment plan or refer you to an ophthalmologist. At this stage, adherence is essential but many patients can be left untreated because they don’t follow through with appointments. It is critical that once early diagnosis of glaucoma is confirmed, treatment starts straight away.

Stage Two: 1-3 months post-diagnosis

It can be very scary for a person to discover that they have glaucoma.

There is a lot of information to take on board and an individual can only handle so much in a consultation. This is a stage where you, as a patient, will likely have many questions. Write down your questions when you think of them and have them ready for when you see your eye care team.

It is important at this stage to ask all the questions you have of your eye care professional. They can provide you with answers to your questions.

Glaucoma Australia is also available to provide you with a range of support and treatment resources to help you during this time.

Stage Three: 5-6 months post-diagnosis

Several months after you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, you move into the third stage of care.

This stage is a crucial point in the ongoing care of a glaucoma patient.

Glaucoma Australia report that only 36 to 50% of patients adhere to their eye drop regime within the first 12 months.

Adherence to your treatment regime, particularly in those first 12 months, is critical to your long-term eye health.

Glaucoma Australia can help you during this stage by staying in touch to find out if you’re having difficulties with the treatment regimen.

Along with your eye care professional, Glaucoma Australia can provide you with education and support to help resolve any problems you may have.

Your team can discuss the importance of ongoing monitoring for glaucoma so that your treatment regimen can be adjusted if required.

Stage Four: 12 months ongoing

After 12 months of living with glaucoma you are in your treatment routine and it’s all about getting on with life.

Glaucoma Australia can help improve your knowledge of glaucoma by sending you monthly email newsletters and, if needed, you can call their free helpline and educator.

Providing personalised phone-based support and automated email communications at each of these stages improves a person’s knowledge of the disease. It helps highlight the importance of treatment and appointment adherence which is specifically aimed at saving a person’s sight.

Glaucoma Australia can provide patients with information about glaucoma, medication advice and ongoing support including individualised behavioural strategies to help improve adherence.

Don’t allow glaucoma to blindside you.

Patients who are living with glaucoma are not alone. Your local Eyecare Plus optometrist and Glaucoma Australia will work with you to help you on the glaucoma journey.

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