Now that the holidays have passed, it’s time to reflect on the year past and look ahead to what 2024 holds. One of my resolutions is to remind family members and friends that glaucoma is called “the silent thief of sight” for a reason; there are no symptoms with open angle glaucoma, which is the most common form in the United States today. The primary reason for suggesting my friends and family get an eye exam is because an estimated 50% of the population that has glaucoma remains undiagnosed. And the risk for developing this potentially blinding disease increases with age and a pertinent family history.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, so it is fitting that we focus on this condition in this issue in this issue of Ophthalmic Professional.
A mainstay treatment for glaucoma is eyedrops, yet research tells us a certain percentage of patients are noncompliant with this therapy. Noncompliance can vary from missing an occasional dose to letting bottles run out without refilling the prescriptions. A variety of reasons have been identified for the latter, including not understanding this is a chronic condition without symptoms.
This issue’s cover story, which profiles Eye Care Associates in Ohio, addresses the common barriers to patient compliance with drop therapies and how to help patients overcome them. (See “Speaking up for sight” on page 6.)
Staff members also contribute to the success of the various surgical interventions available to treat glaucoma, as Drs. Steven Sarkisian and Christine Larsen discuss in “Surgery staff: Invaluable for glaucoma doctors.” (See page 16.) “Every member of my staff knows that their job ultimately is to be a light in a dark place for my patients,” says Dr. Sarkisian.
The ophthalmic staff also shines during the glaucoma workup. (See page 12.) Writes author Lynn Girdlestone, COA, OSA, OSC, “Accurate history taking and high-quality diagnostic testing are integral to informed decision making for the clinician.”
Spread the word
As you read these articles, please think of how you can make your loved ones aware of the importance of regular eye exams. And if I neglected to wish you a happy, healthy New Year, I know the OP family joins me in doing so:
Happy New Year! OP
Jane Shuman, president of Eyetechs, is a nationally recognized authority on clinical flow, scheduling, and technician education. Prior to founding Eyetechs, she worked for over 15 years as an ophthalmic technician and clinical manager.