Speaker: Informational needs not met for many glaucoma patients
NEW ORLEANS — Among the many needs of glaucoma patients, one that is grossly under-met is how informed they are about their potential for glaucoma-induced blindness, a speaker said here.
“Patients want to have a reasonable expectation of what’s going to happen to them,” George L. Spaeth, MD, FACS, said at Glaucoma Subspecialty Day preceding the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting. “Some patients want to hear the truth. Some patients do not want to hear the truth. But all patients deserve to hear the truth. And it’s how you present it to them that determines whether they are able to accept it.”
Of 14 patients Spaeth interviewed who had lost all vision — four from retinitis pigmentosa and 10 from glaucoma — not one had been informed that there was a reasonable chance he or she would go blind, he said. They had not been advised on what to do when the blindness developed, nor had they been referred to a comprehensive low vision service.
Since those interviews, Spaeth said he has routinely told patients in whom blindness was a reasonable possibility that they should make the necessary preparations.
“The response has been universally grateful,” he said.
Disclosure: Spaeth has no relevant financial disclosures.