To help you manage the vast amount of glaucoma information online, we provide an organized list of helpful links. You’ll find guidance for support groups, free booklets, finding a doctor, and more.
Glaucoma Research Foundation regularly updates the following list of resources. We maintain these links for your convenience. Links to other organizations do not represent an endorsement by the Glaucoma Research Foundation.
When faced with a new diagnosis of glaucoma there is one question that is foremost in every patient’s mind: “Will I go blind?” Thankfully, for most patients the answer is no. Glaucoma typically progresses very slowly over many years, and most people never lose vision if they see their eye doctor regularly and follow their treatment plan.
Excellent glaucoma treatments are available that work to control eye pressure, the main cause of vision loss in glaucoma. These treatments include a wide range of eye drop medications, laser treatments that are performed in the doctor’s office, and many types of surgery. Newer treatments are continuously being developed and evaluated.
Glaucoma is a chronic disease, and you are the most important part of your treatment. Working closely with their doctor, the vast majority of people with glaucoma will retain their vision. The key to preserving your vision is speaking honestly with your eye doctor about your disease and its treatment.
Read more: Understand Your Glaucoma Diagnosis.
If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, obtaining treatment and following your treatment plan are essential to preserving your eyesight.
As a newly diagnosed person with glaucoma, you may need to have your eye pressure checked every week or month until it is under control. Even when your eye pressure is at a safe level, you may need to see your doctor several times a year for checkups.
The most recent diagnostic and treatment advances won’t help if you don’t obtain and follow the instructions from your doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask questions about the medications, results, and possible side effects. If side effects are intolerable, let your doctor know as soon as possible so they can work on finding a more suitable medication.
Although we are unable to make specific eye doctor referrals, the organizations listed on our website may help you find a doctor.
To find a glaucoma specialist in your area, search the American Glaucoma Society member listings (Find an AGS Doctor), or search the American Academy of Ophthalmology member listings (Find An Ophthalmologist) and select the “Glaucoma” subspecialty.
Prescription eye drops for glaucoma help maintain the pressure in your eye at a healthy level and are an important part of the treatment routine for many people. Always check with your doctor if you are having difficulty.
Read our helpful, illustrated tips: How to Use Eye Drops.
Many medications are currently in use to treat glaucoma. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of medications or change your prescription over time to reduce side effects or provide a more effective treatment. Typically, medications are intended to reduce elevated intraocular pressure and prevent damage to the optic nerve.
Eye drops used in managing glaucoma decrease eye pressure by helping the eye’s fluid to drain better and/or decreasing the amount of fluid made by the eye. Drugs to treat glaucoma are classified by their active ingredient. These include prostaglandin analogs, beta blockers, alpha agonists, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, and rho kinase inhibitors. Combination drugs are available for patients who require more than one type of medication.
In addition to brand name drugs, some glaucoma medications are available in generic forms. If you are interested, you can ask your doctor if the medication(s) you are using would be available generically and if so, whether switching to that generic would be right for you.
We encourage you to contact any of the following programs if you need financial aid to assess or treat an eye problem.
EyeCare America Online Referral Center
Glaucoma EyeCare Program
Services: Free glaucoma eye exams and initial treatment
Eligibility: US citizens or legal residents who do not have insurance
Lions Club International
(630) 571-5466 (national office)
Provides financial assistance to individuals for eye care through local clubs. There are Lions Clubs in most localities, and services vary from club to club. Check your telephone book for the telephone number and address of your local club.
PATIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Several manufacturers of glaucoma medications offer programs to provide free glaucoma drugs to patients who cannot afford it. In most cases, you will need to go through your eye doctor’s office to participate. Tell your eye doctor about your inability to afford the medication and your lack of prescription coverage.
The Medicine Program
This is a volunteer patient advocacy organization, which helps people enroll in the many prescription medication patient assistance programs.
Merck Patient Assistance Program
Medications: Cosopt, Timoptic, Timoptic XE, Trusopt
(800) 727-5400 / Alt: (800) 994-2111 (9 am-7 pm EST)
Novartis Patient Assistance Foundation, Inc.
Medications: Azopt, Betoptic S., Travatan Z
(800)-MEDICARE or 800-633-4227
Provides an annual dilated eye exam for Medicare beneficiaries over 65 at high risk for glaucoma. Those eligible for this service are: people with diabetes, family history of glaucoma, or African-Americans over 50.
Many university-based medical schools offer discounted services for those who qualify. Inquire at your local university.
Check in your community for local hospitals and other agencies.
Some people with glaucoma have “low vision.” Low vision means there may be problems doing daily, routine things even if using glasses or contact lenses. A variety of products and resources are available to help people who have low vision. Examples include magnifiers, colored lenses, and computer text enlargers.
Problems Associated with Low Vision
Some of the difficulties associated with low vision include problems with glare, lighting, and contrast (which allows us to see different shades of the same color).
Glare can be a real problem for people with glaucoma. Whether it is from the sun or a bright indoor light, glare can reduce the brightness differences and impair contrast sensitivity. Tinted lenses can be used to lessen the effects of some of these problems.
The amount of light available can also present challenges. Most people who have glaucoma are very sensitive to excessive light, especially extreme sunlight. Moderately lit conditions can also pose a problem and usually require additional lighting.
Educational Resources and Support Services
Glaucoma Research Foundation provides a list of organizations who may provide valuable information and services for people with low vision, as a resource for those with glaucoma and their families.
For your reference, we provide a list of links to other glaucoma-related organizations, as well as eye-related associations and websites. We provide these links for your convenience. Inclusion on this list does not represent an endorsement by the Glaucoma Research Foundation.
There are two sides of glaucoma research and support: finding the cure, and helping people afflicted with the disease lead full and healthy lives.
LOCAL SUPPORT GROUPS
There are many support groups for people with glaucoma. To find a group that meets in person, check with hospitals and eye care centers in your area.
SUPPORT GROUPS ONLINE
There are a few active online glaucoma support groups.
The Glaucoma Eyes group and the Glaucoma Support group let people with glaucoma share their stories and offer each other support.
The Glaucoma Eyes group on Facebook is a private support group for glaucoma patients, glaucoma suspects, glaucoma family members and friends of those with glaucoma. Support is based on personal experiences relating to care of the mental, physical, and emotional aspects of managing glaucoma.
The Glaucoma Support group on Facebook is a private group where glaucoma patients can exchange notes and websites, offer each other support, and help to increase glaucoma awareness.
If you would like to recommend an online support group, please let us know.
Clinical trials are the most effective means of comparing the benefits and risks of new eye disease treatments.
You can use the GRF website to locate a clinical trial near you. Just click on the “Find a Clinical Trial” tab directly below this tab.
On the National Eye Institute’s (NEI) website, you can access information on all completed and ongoing clinical trials supported by the NEI since 1970.
NEI-supported clinical trials involving glaucoma are all in one easily accessible section. If you are interested in participating in a NEI clinical trial, please visit the NEI website for more information.
The ClinicalTrials.gov database provides in-depth information on each ongoing clinical trial and an index of investigators by name and location. It also includes a summary of each completed clinical trial, its results, complete bibliography and recommendations for clinical practice.
Also, be sure to check with eye hospitals in your area. There may be local clinical trials in which you can participate.
For your reference, we have assembled an alphabetical list of terms and phrases relating to glaucoma and its diagnosis and treatment. These are words that you may encounter on our website, in our educational materials, and at your doctor’s office. We hope that by providing this brief dictionary of terms and phrases, you will be better prepared to understand your eyes and your glaucoma treatment.
The annual Patient Summit highlights advances in treatment options and practical information to help you understand and live with glaucoma.
(The printed edition of the Gleams newsletter is only available if you live in the United States or Canada)