When you’ve got a progressive condition like glaucoma… one that’s almost guaranteed to get worse over time… you expect a basic minimum from your doctor.
If he can’t make it BETTER, you can at least expect that he won’t make it WORSE — because that could speed you down the path toward severe and even total blindness.
Not too much to ask, is it?
Well, friend, it turns out you can’t count on him to meet even that minimum standard.
New research shows that many doctors ARE making it worse!
A team of eyeball experts recently held an entire conference on glaucoma (there’s a conference for everything, right?) and one top researcher said that docs who DON’T specialize in the eyes have no clue how steroids affect glaucoma.
Even the ones who might know the drugs are bad for glaucoma often think that only means to avoid pumping corticosteroids right into the eye itself.
In reality, corticosteroids ANYWHERE in the body — whether it’s in your eye, down your gullet, injected or even rubbed on as a skin cream — can ALL put the eye under pressure in all the wrong ways.
It triggers what’s called the intraocular pressure response. Since glaucoma is all about pressure inside your eyeballs, this can speed the progression of the disease.
It’s bad news for anyone in the early stages of glaucoma. But it could be bad news even if you don’t have the disease, as that jump in eye pressure can help bring it on if you’re at risk.
So, let me give you three actions to take today to slash your own odds here.
First, if you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, tell your doc as well any specialists you might be seeing. Tell ALL of them. Don’t assume they’re in touch with your eye doctor.
Sure, they SHOULD be… but most AREN’T.
Tell them, and keep telling them.
Second, any time you fill an Rx, double check your doctor’s orders. Even if he knows you have glaucoma, you gotta keep him honest. Ask the pharmacist filling your prescriptions — including meds you’re already taking — if anything in your file is or contains a corticosteroid.
If you get meds from multiple places, be sure to ask each one.
And third, watch out for hidden corticosteroids. Some are slipped into common over-the-counter drugs, including certain allergy meds and skin creams, and it’s not always obvious from the label.
The good news is, unlike true glaucoma, the steroid-induced intraocular pressure response can be stopped if you stop taking the drug.
But only if you quit in time.
If you stay on the meds too long, it could be too late — so, if you’re on steroids yourself and have or are at risk for glaucoma, work with a doc on finding a safe way off ASAP.