Medical Treatment continued...
Follow-up visits may also be scheduled for the following reasons:
- If a visual field defect shows up during a visual field test, repeat (possibly multiple) examinations are performed during future office visits. An ophthalmologist closely monitors a visual field defect because it may be a sign of early primary open-angle glaucoma. That is why it is important for you to do your best when taking the visual field test, as it may determine whether or not you have to start on medications to lower your eye pressure. If you get tired during a visual field test, make sure to tell the technician to pause the test so you can rest. That way, a more accurate visual field test can be obtained.
- A gonioscopy is performed at least once every 1-2 years if your intraocular pressure significantly increases or if you are being treated with miotics (a type of glaucoma medication).
- More fundus photographs (which are pictures of the back of the eye) are taken if the optic nerve/optic disk changes in appearance.
The ideal drug for treatment of ocular hypertension should effectively lower intraocular pressure, have no side effects, and be inexpensive with once-a-day dosing; however, no medicine possesses all of the above. When choosing a medicine for you, your ophthalmologist prioritizes these qualities based on your specific needs.
Medications, usually in the form of medicated eyedrops, are prescribed to help lower increased intraocular pressure. Sometimes, more than one medicine is needed. See Understanding Glaucoma Medications.
Initially, your ophthalmologist might have you use the eyedrops in only one eye to see how effective the drug is in lowering the pressure inside your eye. If it is effective, then your doctor will most likely have you use the eyedrops in both eyes. See How to Instill Your Eyedrops.
Once a medicine is prescribed, you have regular follow-up visits with your ophthalmologist. The first follow-up visit is usually 3-4 weeks after beginning the medicine. Your pressures are checked to ensure the drug is helping to lower your intraocular pressure. If the drug is working and is not causing any side effects, then it is continued and you are reevaluated 2-4 months later. If the drug is not helping to lower your intraocular pressure, then you will stop taking that drug and a new drug will be prescribed.