Helping patients better understand glaucoma
Holding Q&A sessions assists ODs in educating patients about the disease
When I was a resident at the SUNY College of Optometry, I was asked a to conduct a few patient question and answer sessions regarding glaucoma. The sessions consisted of me sitting with a small group of patients, family members, or whoever wanted to know more about glaucoma.
These sessions took place in a private corner of the first floor of the SUNY building in New York City. I remember the following questions that were worth asking and answering:
• What exactly is glaucoma?
• Who gets glaucoma?
• What can be done about glaucoma?
• How do I know if I’m going to go blind from glaucoma?
• How often should I get my eyes examined?
• Does having normal intraocular pressure (IOP) mean I will not get glaucoma?
I also remember the daughter of an elderly glaucoma patient taking notes as I spoke
, and the small audience being thankful for the opportunity to ask questions outside of the exam room.
Previously from Dr. Casella: Using medications in pregnant glaucoma patients
What patients prefer
A paper in the April 2017 issue of Optometry and Vision Science brought these fond memories back.1 The paper outlines a cross-sectional study of a small (N=49) sample of African-American patients with glaucoma in a private ophthalmology clinic. The patients were asked to fill out a brief questionnaire, then responses were tallied and outlined in the study.
As expected, the question pertaining to prognosis had a high frequency of incidence (checked 49 percent of the time). Additionally, the question pertaining to one’s IOP was checked 45 percent of the time.1
Regarding educational programs, 76 percent of patients in the study preferred educational programs to be offered in the doctor’s office, while 39 percent of the patients preferred such programs to be offered in senior centers.1
Younger patients were more likely to desire an Internet-based program than were patients over age 70. An overwhelming 90 percent of patients studied reported that they preferred Internet-based programs to be conducted by doctors, and the two most popular proposed topics were glaucoma medications (84 percent) and the definition and prognosis of glaucoma (83 percent).1