Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Thief of Sight. One man's story.

"The Thief of Sight" they call it.
I would have to agree. On the way home one night I couldn't figure out why my left eye would always tear up like I was crying. I didn't pay much attention to it until that night. I took off my glasses, trying to see what was wrong. I covered my left eye then looked through my right eye. No problem there. I did the same with the left eye and realized that I could hardly see. Everything was clouded. Maybe it was the was night time, I thought, because everything I saw was a blur. I realized right then there was a problem. I didn't know what to do, where to go, who to turn to. 

Being the smart, resourceful gentleman that I am, I tried to figure out what was wrong with my left eye. I started researching blurred vision on the internet. That's when I came across the word "glaucoma" for the very first time. No, that couldn't be it. That disease leads to blindness, I thought. I told myself that can't be what I have. I scheduled an eye exam which was difficult because I had no health insurance. During the exam I kept asking the doctor questions - "What's going on with my eye? Will this just clear up? What about an antibiotic?" And on and on. "Just give me a minute, I'm almost finished" the doctor finally replied. 

He completed the exam and said words I'll never forget. "You have glaucoma". I almost fell out of the chair. That was the last thing I expected to hear. It was a sentence not a statement. A life long sentence. My first thought was that I'll go blind. How will I cope with this? I have to work. Will I lose my job? My family. Will I never see them grow, their faces, their smiles? Fear gripped me and didn't let go. 

I remembered my grandmother had glaucoma. Whenever we visited with her all the lights were on, some even  burning bright with no lampshade. Yet she would ask  "It's so dark in here. Is that lampshade off? Is that light on?" We had no level of understanding. Why couldn't she see that the light was on? Was this going to happen to me? A diagnosis of glaucoma is paralyzing. It's overwhelming. Your life will be changed from the moment you hear it. And no one can really understand the despair, the worry, the "why me" that swirls around in your head making it hard to breathe. 

I was given a prescription for eye drops that I'll take for the rest of my life. And pray that's the only treatment I'll ever need. I left the office devastated and depressed. Now what. I'm going to go blind. I couldn't shake it from my mind. A dark heavy depression set in. I'm a single parent. My son is in his last year of high school. What am I supposed to do now? 

I'll go on. I'll faithfully take my drops every day and have regular check ups. I'll pray for a cure, a new treatment, a breakthrough everyday. I want to live to see my son grown, happy and with a family of his own. I want to see it all. 

John was diagnosed with open angle glaucoma in his mid 50's. And while he is considered at high risk for glaucoma - family history, African American - there was no warning, no pain, just a teary 
and blurry eye. If you're at high risk get the facts. High risk includes being over the age of sixty, being African Amecrican, Hispanic or having a family history of the disease. The fear after diagnosis is very real. Every day. Call your opthamologist for a comprehensive exam. There is treatment but you must first be diagnosed. Anyone can have glaucoma at any stage of life. Vision lost cannot be regained. 

Glaucoma can cause blindness if it is left untreated and is the leading cause of blindness in the US. And unfortunately approximately 10% of people with glaucoma who receive proper treatment still experience loss of vision. There is no cure.

Don't this thief steal your sight. Get the facts from the Glaucoma Reseach Foundation 

This blog has been published with John's permission. He is living through this now. Find a cure. Please. 

If you'd like to share your story to help create glaucoma awareness please contact me at And, if you will, share this blog. Thank you.

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