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Frequently asked questions

Why have I been prescribed eye drops?

Eye drops are used to treat glaucoma. Most eyedrops used to treat glaucoma work by lowering the pressure inside your eye, helping to protect your vision. You may sometimes be given extra drops to help soothe the surface of the eye.

Treatment for glaucoma is usually life-long. The treatments that your consultant and care team recommend are tailored to you and your individual circumstances.

You can help by taking your medication as prescribed.

Regular check-ups are important to make sure that your glaucoma is under control.

How should I store my eye drops?

Different drops may have different requirements for storage. You should follow the instructions that come with your drops.

What should I do if I’m travelling?

Try to stick to your normal eye drop regime. If changing time zones, revert to your normal routine in the new time zone as soon as possible.

It's helpful to take a spare set of drops when travelling abroad, in case of loss. Some people carry a spare set in a separate bag. For long journeys you may need to have your drops in your hand luggage in order to stick to your routine.

When should I take my drops?

How often you will need to use your eye drops will depend on what type of glaucoma you have and what type of eye drops you've been given.

Make sure you take your drops regularly as part of your daily routine. Follow the instructions you were given with your prescription and time your doses as required throughout the day.

How can I help to remember my drops?

It can be very helpful to coordinate your drops with daily activities. For example:

  • if you take your eye drops at night, take them last thing at night when you brush your teeth
  • if you take your drops in the morning, you could take them after breakfast
  • if you take your eye drops twice a day, you may wish to take them at breakfast time and evening meal time
  • if you take your eye drops three times a day, you may wish to take them at breakfast time, lunchtime and when you have your evening meal

Some people find it helpful to keep a diary to record when they have taken their drops. Others use their mobile phone or alarm clock to remind them when drops are due.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a drop, take it as soon as possible and then return to your normal drop schedule.

What should I do if I feel my drops are causing a problem?

Please check the list of potential side-effects provided with your drops.

Make a note of any problems you are having that you think may be related to your treatment, and inform your care team, GP or optometrist/optician immediately. 

Will my family get glaucoma?

Just because you have glaucoma, it doesn't mean your family will get it, but glaucoma can run in families.

If you're diagnosed with glaucoma, it's important to tell close relatives, e.g. parents, brothers and sisters, and cousins. They should arrange to have a simple glaucoma check by an optician once a year to check for the condition.

As glaucoma is more common in the over-40s, if you have glaucoma and you have children, they should get checked regularly by an optician from the age of 40.

Glaucoma can often be easier to treat if picked up in the early stages.

Will glaucoma affect my ability to drive?

You should ask your consultant and their team about whether you will be able to drive.

Your consultant should be able to advise you about the procedure for informing the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Whether the DVLA will allow you to drive depends on how well and how far you can see. Please see the DVLA website for further information.

What are the most important things to remember?

  • Take your treatment as prescribed by your care team
  • Follow the manufacturer’s storage recommendations
  • Take care that you don’t run out of eye drops
  • Get a fresh set of drops every 28 days
  • Put your drops in as normal on the day of your clinic appointment
  • If you miss a dose, put your drops in as soon as possible and then continue your regular routine
  • Make sure you keep your appointments for checkups
  • Inform your care team of any problems

Watch our glaucoma video playlist

You may be interested in our YouTube playlist, where you can watch our experts talk about a range of issues affecting glaucoma patients and introduce the service here at UHB.

Last reviewed: 12 May 2022