I was 17 and I was studying really hard for my college entrance exams when I started to experience a persistent headache. I thought it was because I was reading a lot, so I put up with the pain for about a year.
When I eventually told my uncle, he said “you should probably have your eyes checked” so I did, and that’s how I found out I had glaucoma.
My eye pressure was 45 when it should be around 12. The specialist explained that if the pressure wasn’t reduced, I’d permanently lose my eyesight. I’d already lost 40 per cent of vision in my left eye and I’d compensated without realising.
When I was diagnosed with glaucoma I was scared and confused. I didn't know what it was, and I didn't know if it was something that I had done to cause glaucoma. Now I know better. I’ve got a good team of doctors and my family is behind me. We've got a road map, so I feel a lot more confident living with glaucoma and in managing it going onward.
Having glaucoma is like having any other disease. You've got to accept it and learn to live with it and manage it. It’s a degenerative disease and I’m always aware of what can happen, so I do my very best to keep my vision and maintain my eye health as much as I can.
Learning to live with glaucoma
I’ve lost 80 per cent of eyesight in my left eye so balance is an issue, but I’ve worked out a system to navigate daily life.
When I’m taking the stairs, I look for cues such as shadows and debris on surfaces to help me see differences in height.
I don’t wear make-up much, because if I close my right eye to put on eyeliner, I can’t see what I’m doing using my left eye. And I choose not to drive anymore.
I don’t know why I have glaucoma and I never expected it to happen to me. But I’ve learned that if you are worried about your eye health, don’t wait – get your eyes checked.”
When I was diagnosed with glaucoma I was scared and confused. I was 17 years old...Connie