Working together to reduce eye health risks
Jerry has arthritis and emphysema and is a long-term smoker. He was referred to an optometrist after a flare-up of chronic iritis required an increased steroid dose and caused issues related to eye pressure.
Being bed-ridden and dependent on oxygen, Jerry was unable to travel to an ophthalmologist in another town. The patient developed temporal arteritis and when hospitalised for that condition, was put on large doses of intravenous steroids, which further raised his eye pressure. The optometrist visited the patient several times during his 10-day hospital stay to monitor his condition, check his eye pressure and change medication to control secondary glaucoma initiated by the temporal arteritis.
The optometrist noted Jerry couldn’t use beta blockers because they would have impacted on his emphysema and affected his breathing. His different health issues meant Jerry was on three different types of drugs: two glaucoma medications and steroids. The systemic steroids pushed up Jerry’s secondary glaucoma pressures causing significant short-term risk of central retinal vein occlusion and a long-term risk of glaucoma and damage to the optic nerve.
Recognising that Jerry’s GP was not experienced in managing IOP rises, or equipped to measure eye pressures, the optometrist repeatedly measured Jerry’s eye pressures and worked with the GP to adjust his medication. As a result they were able to reduce Jerry’s eye pressure and get the temporal arteritis under control. Thanks to ongoing treatment for glaucoma, Jerry’s overall risk of eyesight damage has been strongly reduced.