Glaucoma, a condition of the eye, is rarely associated with mental health on a social level. Unfortunately, depression has medical links to glaucoma that many people don't realize exist. As an opthalmologist, there are several ways you can help your patients deal with the depressive symptoms that often accompany glaucoma. Here are a few tips so that you can do exactly that:
1. Administer Questionnaires
The Geriatric Depression Scale is a simple questionnaire you can use to inquire about potential symptoms of depression. If you do find that signs of depression are present, you should refer the individual to a mental health specialist. This is especially the case if the patient was already struggling with anxiety or depression and this could push him or her over the edge.
2. Provide Support
Suggesting that your patients with glaucoma visit a support group for others with the condition is a wise idea. This allows people with similar conditions to get together and learn about mutual experiences. This support helps patients realize that they are not alone.
3. Be Positive
Being as positive as possible is essential. Speaking about treatment with a positive future in mind is the best way to acknowledge the condition and speak about the prognosis for this patient. Patients are bound to be anxious about glaucoma, but this is no reason you cannot provide some solace. Additionally, make sure to provide praise for patients who are consistent about medication and other eye care regimens. Patients want to hear about more than the negative aspects of the condition.
4. Encourage Forward Steps
Not working as a team can be a downfall for many who experience glaucoma. Sticking to a routine is essential for preventing functional vision loss. Showing your patients that they have some control over their glaucoma can make them feel powerful and not as if they are lacking in autonomy. It is also wise to back up each patient with education. Education leads to a better sense of control, leading to less anxiety.
As a medical professional, it is your duty to treat more than the condition of the eye. Glaucoma leads to many life changes that can make daily living a bit more difficult. For those already struggling, this can be incredibly difficult. While some patients may be offended that you have recommended mental health care, there are also plenty of patients who will have better lives because of it. Contact professionals, such as those from North Central Eye Associates Inc, for any further assistance.