Question 1 : Q: How did COVID-19 impact glaucoma care in 2020?
A: COVID-19 had an enormous impact on glaucoma care in 2020, with appointments being postponed and surgeries being cancelled. Find out how much has changed here.
Question 2 : Q: My appointment has been cancelled. I’m a bit worried about not having my pressures checked. Is there something I can do?
A: You could contact your local optometrist (optician) to ask if they would be willing to check your eye pressure. They may charge you for this. You can then tell your consultant the result of this test and they can decide if you need to be seen early.
Question 3 : Q: What if I feel my vision has deteriorated and I’m not due to be seen for four months?
A: If you feel your vision has deteriorated it’s important to contact your consultant. You can call the hospital switchboard and ask to speak to an eye secretary, or as to speak to your consultant’s secretary. Explain the situation and ask if you can be seen. If you’re not able to do this, ask to speak to the Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS) department or the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO), either of whom should be able to help you.
Question 4 : Q: My appointment has been cancelled or delayed. Should I be worried?
A: If your glaucoma is well controlled with eye drops and there has been no deterioration, having your routine appointment delayed to a later date shouldn’t cause problems. It’s important to be extra diligent about taking your eye drops at this time.
Question 5 : Q: I’ve heard that I mustn’t touch my face, eyes and mouth. How can I safely put my drops in?
A: As long as you wash your hands thoroughly before putting your drops in, it’s fine to carry on as you’ve always done. If you want to you can wash your hands afterwards as well. Make sure you continue to practise punctal occlusion - putting your finger on the corner of your eye on your tear duct for at least one minute after putting your drop in. You may also find dispensing aids are helpful in reducing how much you touch your face - see our page on eye drops for more information.
Question 6 : Q: I’ve just been diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes and the consultant has told me I need to tell the DVLA. Do I really have to do this? I don’t want to give up driving or end up paying high insurance premiums.
A: The law states that if a person has glaucoma in both eyes they must advise the DVLA. People often worry that they will lose their licence once they are diagnosed with glaucoma, but many people with glaucoma retain their licence and pass the standards expected of the DVLA. Your car premium won’t go up either. If you don’t advise the DVLA and you’re involved in a car accident, whether it’s your fault or someone else’s, you will only be covered third party, and you can be fined £1000 and have your licence revoked.
Question 7 : Q: I’ve just been diagnosed with ocular hypertension. Do I need to advise the DVLA?
A: If you have been diagnosed with ocular hypertension there is no need to advise the DVLA. Ocular hypertension is when there is high pressure within the eye with no signs of glaucoma.
Question 8 : Q: I’ve just been diagnosed with glaucoma in one eye. Do I tell the DVLA?
A: If you have only been diagnosed with glaucoma in one eye and there is nothing wrong with the vision in the other eye, there is no need to inform them. You only need to tell the DVLA if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes.
Question 9 : Q: I’ve just had my driving licence revoked, but I feel I can drive without a problem. How can I appeal against this decision?
A: You can make an informal appeal by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org It’s important to make sure you tell them you want to make an informal appeal, as a formal appeal would have to go through the courts and you may become liable for court costs. They will ask you to make an appointment at an opticians of your choosing for another test, which you will have to pay for. When the DVLA have received these results they will decide whether to give you back your licence or stand by their decision to revoke it.
Question 10 : Q: I sent my renewal form off to the DVLA just before the lockdown and haven’t had a response. My licence runs out soon. Can I still drive after this time?
A: Your best option is to email the DVLA at email@example.com with your concerns, as their phone lines are currently for Keyworker enquiries only. Please be patient while waiting for a response as they are dealing with a large volume of emails.
Question 11 : Q: I suffer badly from hay fever. Can I take Antihistamines?
A: We always suggest you speak to your consultant before taking any over the counter medications.
Question 12 : Q: I’ve just been diagnosed with glaucoma. Can I still go to my Yoga classes or the gym or swimming pool?
A: Yes you can, though there are a couple of things to watch out for.
Yoga: You need to be careful with certain positions which cause the head to go below the heart, such as the Downward Dog. You should be able to speak to your instructor and between you come up with a programme that will still give you the benefits of staying fit but without the concern that it will affect your glaucoma.
Gym: You can still go to the gym but any heavy weightlifting should be avoided. When you lift a heavy weight you normally hold your breath, lift the weight and exhale. Holding your breath and lifting the weight can cause the eye pressure to rise, so is best avoided. Rather than running for a long period of time on the treadmill, say for 20 minutes without a break, try to run for 5 minutes, walk for 2 and repeat. Talk to your instructor so you can come up with a programme that won’t affect your glaucoma.
Swimming: If you have glaucoma the chlorine in the water can sometimes aggravate the eye more than it would for someone who doesn’t have glaucoma. Swimming goggles are recommended, but please make sure that the goggles you wear are the larger type and not the small ones that sit within the eye socket as these can press onto the eye and can sometimes affect the eye pressure.
Question 13 : Q: The pharmacist said they can’t get my drops as there is a problem with the supply. What do I do?
A: You need to call the hospital switchboard and ask to speak to the eye secretary (or if you know the name of your consultant, ask for that consultant’s secretary) and explain the situation. The consultant should be able to prescribe you with an alternative drop to cover the treatment while you wait for your normal eye drops. If you cannot get through to any secretary ask to speak to the Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS) department or the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO), either of whom should be able to help you.
Question 14 : Q: Are there any lifestyle changes I should adopt?
In general you should aim to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Eating oily fish at least two or three times a week is also good. Drink plenty of water, aiming for at least eight glasses a day.
Try to get outside in the fresh air for a daily walk if you can.
If you smoke try to cut down or stop. Having an occasional glass of wine is OK.
Question 15 : Q: I’ve been told my glaucoma is advanced and there’s nothing more they can do. Why can’t they operate to stop the progression?
A: When your glaucoma is advanced all the consultant can do is try their best to help save the vision that you have. Surgery wouldn’t be an option if your glaucoma is so advanced so there would be no benefit of having it done and it can sometimes affect the vision. Even if you feel your eye drops are not working, they are still controlling your eye pressure and helping you maintain the vision you have, so please carry on taking them as prescribed.
Question 16 : Q: Do I need to put my drops in at the same time each day? What if I forget?
A: Using your eye drops as prescribed is such an important factor in the treatment of glaucoma. Make sure you put your drops in as prescribed by your consultant. Put them in around the same time each day as much as you possibly can. A half hour either side of your normal time is OK but try not to do this too often.
If you usually put your drop in in the morning but you forget, pleased don’t worry. Putting your drop in an hour or so after your normal time will be fine, but go back to your normal routine the next day. If however you realise much later on in the day, it’s best to leave putting it in until the following day and carry on with your normal regime the following day. This will not affect your glaucoma as this will be a one off, but please don’t make it something that you do often.
If you find it difficult to remember whether you have put your drop in, there is a eye drop calendar available from Glaucoma UK. You can either download it from our website or call 01233 648170 and we will arrange to have one sent to you.
Question 17 : Q: I’ve been given a different brand of my eye drop and I can’t squeeze the bottle.
A: Take the bottle back to the pharmacist can offer you an alternative brand with a softer plastic bottle showing them the problem you are having squeezing the bottle.
Question 18 : Q: I’ve just been given eye drops but they didn’t tell me how to put them in. Can you help?
A: Some people put their drops in standing in front of the mirror while others prefer to either sit down or lie down to put their drops in. With a little practice you'll find the best way that suits you. Please read the patient information leaflet which comes with the eye drops. It will advise you whether you need to shake the bottle or not before using.
If you’re standing in front of a mirror or sitting down:
Firstly it is important to wash your hands before you put your drops in. Shake the drops bottle if the information leaflet says you should do this. Find your most comfortable position and tip your head back slightly. Pull down the lower lid so that it forms a pocket and squeeze the drop into your eye. Close your eye and place your index finger on your tear duct (the part of your eye closest to the nose) and press gently for up to two minutes. Then repeat this on your other eye. Don’t worry if you feel the drops running down your cheek. This will be the excess drop. Just wipe it away with a clean tissue.
If you’re lying down:
Wash your hands, and shake the bottle if the instruction leaflet tells you to. While lying down, rest the drop bottle on the bridge of your nose so that the tip of the bottle is in line with the eye. Pull down the lower lid and put the drop in. Close your eye and place your index finger on your tear duct (the part of your eye closest to the nose) and press gently for up to two minutes. Then repeat this on your other eye. Don’t worry if you feel the drops running down your cheek. This will be the excess drop. Just wipe it away with a clean tissue.
Question 19 : Q: I’ve always had my eyes tested yearly since my diagnosis. I’ve now been told I can only get them tested every two years. Is that right?
A: Yes the NHS will only pay for you to have a sight test as often as it is needed. If you attend the eye clinic regularly your glaucoma will be checked there, so there is no need to have your eyes tested yearly by your optometrist. If the consultant or the optometrist feels you still need to be seen more often this will be arranged.
Question 20 : Q: I’ve just been diagnosed with glaucoma. Can my family be tested for free?
A: Yes. In the UK any close blood relative - a child, parent, brother or sister - who is over the age of 40 - will be able to have a sight test paid for by the NHS. They don't have to bring any proof of your diagnosis. In Scotland eye examinations are paid for by the NHS for everyone.
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