A little-known fact about me is that at the end of March this year, I was diagnosed with a condition called Glaucoma. I attended a routine eye test appointment at Boots Opticians last February, and a change was detected at the back of my right eye, so I was referred to my local hospital for further tests to see what the change was.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that is often associated with elevated intraocular pressure, in which damage to the eye (optic) nerve can lead to loss of vision and even blindness. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world, and there are often no symptoms attached to the condition. It is usually only during routine eye appointments that the condition is picked up and detected. Once detected, it can be kept at bay with the use of eye drops that must be administered to the eyes every night and once someone with glaucoma starts these drops the administration of them every night has to be maintained for life to prevent the condition getting any worse.
I have worn glasses for short sightedness since the age of 5, and so I have always attended for regular eye tests at my opticians. However, at my last routine eye test appointment a change was detected at the back of my right eye along with an increase in the pressure levels in my eyes and so the optician as a precaution referred me for further tests at my local hospital.
I attended for those tests on Friday 31 March 2017 where it was confirmed that the pressure in my eyes was definitely increased along with the change at the back of my right eye indicated the possible start of primary open angle early onset glaucoma, and so I was prescribed eye drops that I have to put in my eyes every night to prevent it from deteriorating any further.
The condition has been caught very early with me and so the treatment I am on is very important to stop it developing further, but I had no symptoms whatsoever – glaucoma is an invisible condition that is only usually picked up during routine eye tests. Therefore, it is so important to go to the opticians for regular eye tests and check-ups.
Glaucoma is usually hereditary, but there is no evidence of glaucoma in my immediate family that I am aware of. Research has however linked the development of glaucoma in women aged between 40-50 with the use of antihistamines for hay fever and allergies, and I have taken antihistamines to combat severe hay fever symptoms every summer ever since I was a child so this may be a factor in why I have developed the condition.
As I had no symptoms or signs whatsoever that anything was wrong, I consider myself to be extremely lucky that the condition has been picked up so early that the treatment I am on will prevent it from developing any further.
My advice is that everyone should have regular eye tests and checks, even if they do not wear glasses or think they have problems with their sight, they are so important. Not only do eye tests and checks look for signs of glaucoma, they also look for other conditions such as diabetes. If you think you can’t afford eye tests, many high street opticians do vouchers for money off the cost of them and if you work with a computer or VDU many employers can offer help towards the cost of this – http://www.workingrights.co.uk/should-company-pay-eye-sight-tests.html.
For more information about Glaucoma visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Glaucoma/Pages/Introduction.aspx