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July 2019

When I was 44 years old I was diagnosed with open angle glaucoma in both eyes. There is no history of glaucoma in my family.


Hi, my name is Martine and I’m a 45 year old female living in Tasmania. Before being diagnosed with glaucoma, I had always been to the optometrist as I am short sighted and require glasses. I would diligently go every two years. I do remember one year the optometrist mentioning something about my eye pressure, but he thought because my cornea was thick it was giving a false reading. I never thought anything of it.

For about two years before my diagnosis I was having long bouts during the day where my vision would become hazy. It was like the room or outside world was smoky. It seemed to happen when there was a lot sun light, so I thought I had sensitive eyes to the light. I was also having very bad headaches nearly on a daily basis, but thought it was tension in my neck from sitting at a computer all day. Never did it cross my mind that I had anything really wrong.

Then one night I was sitting in my lounge room and the room was “smoky”, so I asked my husband if the room was indeed smoky. He said no, and then when I was looking around the room, I glanced up at the pendant light and there was a rainbow of colours around the light. I had never had this happen before, and I knew that this wasn’t right. Of course, I Googled the symptoms which talked about high eye pressure. The very next morning I rang and made an appointment for my optometrist. I was still didn’t know what was really causing these symptoms.

I went to work the next day and then went to my optometrist appointment. I had the usually pre-assessment checks, and the machine that puffs air into your eye, wouldn’t register my eye pressure. I still didn’t think anything was overly wrong.

Into see the optometrist I went and he measure my eye pressure and both eyes came back with a IOP of 50!! I was sent immediately to the eye hospital as an emergency patient. I felt confused about what was happening and probably at that point not fully aware of the seriousness of having such a high eye pressure reading.

My eye pressure was tested again and the ophthalmologist prescribed me Ganfort eye drops once a day for both eyes. I was booked in to see the glaucoma specialist. I was still quite confused about what was happening and why.

Within a few days I saw the glaucoma specialist and had further tests. It was determined I had open angle glaucoma. He was puzzled as I had no family history. My father had multiple scoliosis and passed away in his 60s when I was 24 years old, so perhaps he had undiagnosed glaucoma, but I will never know.

I’m now take two types of eye drops that I take twice a day for both eyes. My headaches have stopped, and my eye pressure has dropped, although at times it does go up again to the mid 20s and I have to change my drops again. The ophthalmologist thinks that maybe my normal eye pressure is higher than the standard normal. He’s also suggested laser surgery.

Everyday I’m reminded of my glaucoma. I have red dry eyes, which are agitated because I work in an air-conditioned office. At times I feel embarrassed by my red eyes and people comment that I look tired or have I been crying. When I explain that I have an eye condition called glaucoma, people don’t know what it is and think I’m talking about cataracts. I want people to be more aware of glaucoma and how it can strike anyone at any time.

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When I was 44 years old I was diagnosed with open angle glaucoma in both eyes. There is no history of glaucoma in my family...