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Saving Your Sight A Precautionary Tale

The header is a young black woman about to put eye medicine in her eye.

Saving Your Sight A Precautionary Tale

Editor’s Note:

The following excerpt is from an article I wrote last year and I wanted to reshare with you for #WorldGlaucomaAwarenessWeek. World Glaucoma Awareness Week (March 6-12, 2022) was created to increase awareness about the silent thief of sight— glaucoma. In case you didn’t know, glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness and worse yet there are no warning signs that a person may have the disease.

My article, Glaucoma: My Denial Of The Invisible Enemy Within, is not one of my proudest moments but if it prevents one person from losing their sight to this disease it’s worth my discomfort. It is so easy to save your sight through regular full dilated eye examinations.

To learn more about World Glaucoma Awareness Week and all the activities happening globally visit worldglaucomaweek.org. ~Steph

Glaucoma A Hidden & Diabolical Disease

In view of my eye issues, different surgeries, and procedures I endured, my doctors agreed not to diagnose me with glaucoma (Glaucoma – VisionAware) for months. The action plan was to put me on a pressure-lowering medication on a trial basis then they would measure outcomes.  

Xalatan was the first medication I was prescribed and it worked extremely well. This particular medicine is effective because it increases the outflow of the fluid inside the eye. Unfortunately, after the trial period ended and I was taken off the drops, my pressure increased exponentially. At this point, my retina specialist diagnosed me with open-angle glaucoma and put me on two different medications. (What Are the Different Treatments for Glaucoma? – VisionAware

After Cleveland Clinic declared me legally blind my glaucoma follow-up care was handled by another ophthalmologist whom I’ve seen since 2008. With the exception of one time for 11 years, I adhered to my doctor’s instructions, taking my medicine and seeing her 4 times a year to monitor my eye disease. Then a little over a year ago I decided I had enough and I just stopped going. 

Life continued onward then COVID-19 hit. I knew I should have taken better care of myself and as more time passed the guiltier I felt. To make myself feel better I’d say things like maybe the doctors were wrong and I didn’t actually have glaucoma and the only way to prove it was to stay away. Another part of me was far more afraid of catching COVID-19 than losing my residual eyesight and I felt this justified staying away.  

By the time I’d gathered the courage to make an eye appointment, it was November 2020. My eye pressures were off the charts coming in at 50+ in both eyes. To give you some perspective, normal intraocular pressure ranges 10-20. 

The doctor left me in the exam room while she went to get some sample medications for me to try. When she returned she gave the two medicines to my son and told him if I didn’t take them I’d lose my residual sight. She explained to him that the increased pressure on my optic nerve was causing irreversible damage.   

To read the entire article visit VisionAware.org to access the piece here: https://visionaware.org/blog/visually-impaired-now-what/glaucoma-my-denial-of-the-invisible-enemy-within/

worldglaucomaweek.org

Image Description:

  • The header is a young black woman about to put eye medicine in her eye.
  • Logo: World Glaucoma Week March 6- 12, 2022 in green text with matching green awareness ribbon.
  • Mp4 of an image that looks like an eye with a spinning globe as the iris. The text reads “The world is bright save your sight.”
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