Glaucoma Self Care

For many people, glaucoma is a chronic, lifelong condition. You may have to take daily medication and make adjustments to your lifestyle to ensure your actions do not make your glaucoma worse.

Effective self management of your glaucoma is key to keeping your eyes healthy. By getting into a good routine, where you take your eye drops regularly and in the most effective way, you can make a huge difference to keeping your eyes as healthy as possible.

Top tips for glaucoma self care

Don’t suffer in silence

Glaucoma and glaucoma medication can cause side effects in some people. These may include red, sore, gritty or watery eyes, a sore stomach, fatigue or a bitter taste in the mouth. Many of these side effects can be reduced medically or by better eye drop technique. If you are experiencing issues with your drops, talk to your doctor or call us on our helpline.

  • Knowledge is power! The more you understand about glaucoma, the better you can manage it. In partnership with Santen UK, we have produced a series of videos that help explain what glaucoma is, how it affects your eyes and how to put in your eye drops.
  • Always attend your glaucoma appointments Without the correct medication and attention, glaucoma will progress and may result in irreversible sight loss. It is vital that you attend regular monitoring and review appointments so the doctor can keep a close check on your glaucoma.
  • Develop great eye drop technique and keep up to date on best practice  Using eye drops properly isn’t easy! It takes practice, patience and education. Perhaps you are just starting eye drops and are worried about whether you are doing it right?  Maybe you have been using eye drops for a long time but the medication bottle has changed? Perhaps your fingers aren’t as agile as they use to be? We have produced a booklet all about eye drops which you can download here. We have also produced a video which demonstrates some best-practice techniques.
  • Don’t forget to wash your hands! Your eyes are very delicate so it’s always good to wash your hands before using your eye drops. If you are using a dispensing aid, it’s good to regularly wash it in warm water. To avoid contamination, never let the nozzle of the eye drop bottle touch your eye.
  • Take your eye drops regularly and as prescribed In order to work effectively, eye drops need to be used on time every day and evenly spaced through the day. If you miss a dose there is nothing to stop your eye pressure increasing, so it’s vital that you take your drops as prescribed. If you find it difficult to remember, you can use this helpful drops calendar.
  • Develop an eye drop routine that works for you We are all different so it’s not ‘one size fits all’. If you need to take drops morning and evening, perhaps keep them next to your toothbrush. If you take them only before sleep, keep them next to your bed. If you are out and about during the day, think about how you might carry your eye drops. Some people set a reminder or alarm on their mobile phone to help them remember. If you are unsure of how many times a day you should use your eye drops, a full list of eye drops and frequencies of application can be found here: Glaucoma Eye Drops – Frequency Guide
  • Use an eye drop dispensing aid if you’re having problems putting in your eye drops There are many reasons people struggle to put eye drops in effectively but a dispensing aid can really help! If you struggle to ‘line up’ the drops with your eye, find it hard to move your arm or hand to the right position or have arthritis in your fingers that means you can’t squeeze the drop bottle, then there are dispensing aids that can help. They are cheap and easy to use after a bit of practice. A full list of which dispensing aids may work with your eye drops can be found here: Glaucoma Eye Drops – Compliance Aids
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How to use your eye drops (1:17)

More Self Care Videos

Glaucoma Glossary

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Acute

a disease which develops suddenly, e.g. angle closure glaucoma.


Acute angle closure

see primary angle closure glaucoma, or PACG


Adherence

sticking to something, e.g. putting your eye drops in every day as prescribed


Alpha agonist

eye drop that reduces the production of fluid in the eye, and may improve the flow of fluid out of the eye.


ALT

see argon laser trabeculoplasty


Angle closure

where the angle between the cornea (front of the eye) and iris (coloured part of the eye) closes. The drainage channels sit behind the angle. If the angle closes, the drainage channels are blocked and fluid cannot drain out of the eye, and eye pressure increases.


Anterior chamber

the front part of the eye that contains the aqueous humour.


Anti-scarring agent

a chemical which is applied to the surface of the eye during surgery to reduce scarring. This increases the chances of the surgery being successful. Examples are Mitomycin C and 5-fluorouracil


Aqueous humour, or aqueous fluid, or aqueous

Aqueous humour, or aqueous fluid, or aqueous: the clear fluid at the front of the eye. It provides nutrients to structures in the eye and helps the eye maintain its shape.


Aqueous shunt

a device inserted in the eye to reduce eye pressure by draining excess fluid from inside the eye to a small blister behind the eyelid.


Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty, or ALT

uses an argon laser to improve drainage of fluid through the drainage channel (trabecular meshwork). It uses a higher-energy laser than selective laser trabeculoplasty, which may increase the chances of scarring developing.


Artificial tears

eye drops that treat dry eye disease. Most just wet the eye but some also help the eye to heal.


Autoimmune

when the immune system perceives part of the body as being “foreign” and attacks it.


Axenfeld’s anomaly

an inherited (genetic) condition. The iris (coloured part of the eye) and the edge of the cornea (clear window of the eye) to develop abnormally. This means the drainage channels are more likely to be closed, meaning fluid cannot drain out of the eye properly, and eye pressure is high.

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