My glaucoma was diagnosed in early 2001, but I now realise I had it some years before that when I suffered from debilitating nausea and vomiting. It wasn’t picked up by my doctor at work, who thought it was Ménière's disease.
A move to a country town saw me visit a new optometrist, who then referred me to a specialist, and so I was diagnosed with the inevitable. I say inevitable because my mother had glaucoma, but I don’t recall inheritance ever coming into her conversations with me.
My mother died in 2003 at 99 years old and clinically blind, but had lived by herself until she was 95 years old. My mother had eye problems from birth, and had regular changes of glasses, but she wasn’t diagnosed with glaucoma until later in life when glaucoma came to the fore. Perhaps her many falls and broken bones up to that date were a result of her glaucoma and poor vision.
Over the years, I’ve learned to ask questions, as my eyes are getting worse. My right eye does most of the work, and I drive – this sight is okay, so far – but down near my feet is another matter. My legs are battled scarred and never without bruises or gouges. I am a walking advertisement for Elastoplast!
I am a gardener, and I have a meandering garden, which is not good for glaucoma and keeping one’s eyes glued to the ground, whilst trying to smell the roses. I do better when crossing roads or walking on uneven footpaths.
I enjoy doing jigsaw, but I can no longer do ones with large patches of dark colours, and I do have to move some distance away to locate dropped pieces – as I can’t see down there! I only vacuum in between jigsaws, and even then I cut open the full dust bag to check, just in case.
Sadly my reading is now very slow and keeping focused is very difficult, but I have managed to read some great literature, so one accepts and moves on.
I have two daughters – one a veterinarian - and both get their eyes checked regularly, all eyesight is important.
Time between specialist visits vary, depending on treatment (cataracts, laser, change of drops etc.). Gaps are now longer, presumably of my age of 83, and my pressures fluctuate within acceptable levels.
I don’t fall asleep during visual field tests, but do wish my left (worst) eye was done first, not being able to see lights which you know are there is demoralising. I have great faith in my specialist, I just wish that I had asked questions earlier!