For most glaucoma patients, treatments such as medication and surgery are effective, but in some cases even with the best of care, patients continue to lose vision. In cases like this, the eye doctor continues to play an important role in patient care. The intraocular pressure (IOP) still needs to be controlled in order to slow progression as much as possible.
When vision loss does occur, even though you trust your doctor’s ability to provide you with excellent care, you may want to consider seeking a second opinion from another glaucoma specialist. A second opinion can be helpful for understanding your diagnosis and your potential options and to reaffirm that your doctor is doing everything possible to prevent further vision loss. On occasion, a fresh look can turn up potential avenues of treatment that had not been considered.
When talking with your doctor about issues related to vision loss, it helps to have a friend or family member with you for the discussion. Your family member may think of additional questions to ask, and help to write down and remember tips and advice from the doctor. It is important to do your best to understand what your doctor recommends, and take steps to get additional help if it is needed. When enough vision has been lost to make some activities difficult, there is help available from low vision specialists and occupational therapists.
People who have lost significant vision can still enjoy life, be active and many can even continue to work, with the assistance of various electronic devices. A home safety consultation can also help adjustment to living independently, safely and productively with limited vision.
First posted on January 2, 2018; Reviewed on May 16, 2022
Robert L. Stamper, MD
Robert L. Stamper, MD is a Distinguished Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology and Director Emeritus of the Glaucoma Service at University of California, San Francisco.