World Glaucoma Week 2022: Living with glaucoma

by Alison Bates, SSW Tech Advisor

It is World Glaucoma Week 2022 and it gives me the opportunity to share my own life of living in denial that I have this disease of the eye.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause blindness or vision loss by damaging the optic nerve in the back of the eye (the optic nerve carries sensory nerve impulses from the retina to the brain) so, in simple terms, if the optic nerve is damaged it means the connection with the eye and the brain is not working properly so vision can become blurry or, worse, non existent.

I have Glaucoma. Last week I had my eyes tested and part of the routine test was an eye pressure checkup during which it was discovered that the pressure in my left eye is 25 and the pressure in my right eye is 60. To put this into context, the healthy range is 10-21.

My optometrist was in absolute shock that it was so high and I had to reassure them that, while I’m surprised it is higher than what is considered healthy, a) I know I have Glaucoma so it is going to be high and b) because – shock horror! – I have not taken an eye drop since the beginning of the pandemic because I have not been to the optician or the hospital. I won’t lie to you or myself and say it is due to the pandemic: it is because I live in denial that there is anything wrong and convince myself that I am going to be fine… somehow by brain will just work it out… but you know what: IT WON’T.

I have to actually get off my in-denial bum and see a professional to get eye drops and a completely called for telling off and stop ruining any chance I have of at least having one healthy eye.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with a doctor in an eye clinic and I will wear my big girl pants, accept my telling off, and start taking my eyedrops regularly (and now you all know how lax I have been you have permission to nag me)!

For more information about Glaucoma take a look at the World Glaucoma Association’s patient guide to caring for Glaucoma during a pandemic which you can access here or the more general NHS information here.