If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with glaucoma, it can be a difficult time for the whole family. It’s reassuring to know that you have access to a range of support services for financial, physical, and emotional resources. With these supports and your health care team’s guidance, you can manage care for yourself or your family member.
Your Eye Care Support Team
A good place to start is by putting together a support team who can help you cope with your vision loss. Your primary eye care provider and an optometrist or ophthalmologist specializing in low vision should be the foundation of your team. Your eye care specialist can help you understand:
- What your diagnosis is
- What it means
- How to treat the condition and symptoms right now
- How to monitor your vision and eye health going forward
Consider adding other health care professionals who specialize in low-vision care to your support team, including:
- Certified low-vision therapists
- Counselors and social workers
- Occupational therapists
- Orientation and mobility specialists
A low-vision therapist is a vision rehabilitation professional who helps you maximize your vision through the use of optical and nonoptical devices and adaptive techniques.
Your eye care team can help you make the most of your remaining vision and maintain your independence.
Support and Vision Rehabilitation
Next, ask your eye care support team for help with your vision problems. Find out more about support services and adaptive devices that can help you with daily activities like reading, sewing, cooking, or fixing things around the house.
Then, ask your team whether vision rehabilitation may be right for you. Vision rehabilitation programs can help improve your quality of life through services such as:
- Guidance on modifying your home
- Resources and support to help you cope with your vision loss
- Training for magnifying and adaptive devices
- Ways to carry out daily living tasks safely and independently
Medicare may cover part or all of a patient’s occupational therapy, but the therapy must be ordered by a physician and provided by a Medicare-approved health care provider. To find out if you are eligible for Medicare-funded occupational therapy, call 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227).
Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
Finally, stay positive and be persistent in learning as much as you can about glaucoma. You can be your own health care advocate by continuing to ask questions so you can take charge of your care.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor before your exam.
- Bring a notepad and pen or pencil to jot down answers, or bring a friend to do that for you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Be clear about what you want and need.