The following tips are a great resource to help patients overcome treatment challenges that can come up from time to time.
1. Be honest and up front with your doctor about any problems you have with your medications
Missing a dose may seem like no big deal, but studies have shown that skipping doses can lead to vision loss over time. Ask your doctor what to do if you miss a dose. Should you take the drop when you remember? Should you wait to use the medication at its next scheduled time?
Be candid with your doctor if you are not using your medication as prescribed. The doctor may be considering adding a medication or surgical treatment that would be unneeded with proper use of your medication. By being up front about the use of your medication, you can avoid the cost and potential side effects of this additional medication or surgical treatment.
If cost is a problem, let your doctor know. There is no way for your doctor to know what a particular medication costs on every insurance plan. If costs are high, your doctor can often work to find a more cost-effective option.
2. Ask for help from your doctor, other health professionals and loved ones
It can be difficult to keep track of which medication to take and when to take them. Make sure you have clear written instructions from your doctor. Ask loved ones to help you develop a system at home to remember when to take your medication.
Talk with your eye doctor or pharmacist about any side effects you may be experiencing. They can often provide help to minimize or possibly eliminate these side effects.
Talk to your friends and family about your condition and treatment. It is helpful to make sure loved ones are familiar with your health and any treatments you are currently taking. Certain conditions have a hereditary component. If your family knows that you have a condition such as glaucoma with a hereditary component, they can then make sure they have their eyes dilated on a yearly basis to screen for any potential development of glaucoma.
Bring a loved one or caregiver to your eye exams. A second set of ears is helpful to understand your condition fully as well as what your treatment routine is. This other person may also think of a question to ask your doctor that you didn’t think of.
3. Make use of memory aids
Forgetfulness is the most common reason for a patient to miss a dose of their medication.
Try simple things like aligning your eye drop schedule with other things you do routinely. For example, place your eye drop bottle next to your toothbrush or another medication that you may take at the same time of day.
Use a calendar to check off when you take your medications.
Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to take your medications.
4. Know your Medicare Part D coverage
Sometimes you will run out of eye drops quicker than anticipated. Eye drops are not as simple as taking a pill. Sometimes more than one drop comes out of the bottle. Sometimes you miss your eye and need to make a second attempt to get the drop into your eye.
If your medication eye drops are covered by Medicare Part D, early refills are possible once 70% of the predicted time has gone by. This means that a medication that is given as a 1-month supply can be refilled after 21 days. If your medication was given in a 90-day supply it can be refilled after 63 days, essentially 2 months.