Supporting someone with glaucoma
People living with glaucoma may need a significant amount of support to help them with their daily lives, as tasks that we can take for granted become more difficult as the condition progresses. Partners and adult children are most likely to be providing this support, and knowing how to help can be difficult. Below are a few things to keep in mind when supporting someone with glaucoma.
Talk about it
Talk to your loved one about their condition and how they are feeling. Discuss important questions to ask their ophthalmologist and whether they would like you to go with them to appointments. It can be overwhelming to begin with and having someone there to make notes can be helpful.
Sometimes, when people are losing their sight they experience a condition called Charles Bonnet syndrome, where they have visual hallucinations (see things that aren’t there). This can be very frightening and people affected can be nervous to tell anyone about these hallucinations out of fear of judgement. Bring this up with your loved one in case they have been experiencing this and are frightened or confused about what is going on.
Help your loved one to access support services which will help them to maintain their independence. Their GP, Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO), social services, service charities like RNIB, and local support groups may all be able to provide information, resources and support.
Keep on top of medication
It is very important that your loved one takes any medication (like eyedrops) as they have been prescribed. Help to set reminders for when they need to take medication.
Make practical changes
There are lots of devices for people with glaucoma which can help with daily tasks. Talk to your loves one’s GP or Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) about how low vision aids like magnifiers, large text resources, screen readers and brighter lighting could help.
Make sure they are safe to drive
Discuss with your loved one and their ophthalmologist if they are safe to continue driving and if they need to inform the DVLA about their condition. This is never an easy conversation to have but is very important.