Glaucoma Awareness Month: Sylvain's Experience with Glaucoma
In honour of Glaucoma Awareness Month, Michelle from our blog team interviewed her father, Sylvain, to discuss his experience with glaucoma. Sylvain is 64 and has had glaucoma for the last 17 years. For those who are unfamiliar with the condition, glaucoma can lead to blindness and optic nerve damage often due to high pressure in the eyes. Eye pressure refers to the build up of fluid that is found around the eye. You can learn more about the condition here.
1. What were your first signs of glaucoma and when did they first start occurring?
I actually didn’t have any symptoms. Glaucoma unfortunately doesn’t always show signs of it developing that patients can pick up on. However, what can happen is your vision may diminish over time. Luckily, the eye doctor caught the glaucoma during an eye exam. The pressure in my eyes was abnormally high.
2. What was the next step after diagnosis?
A week after my diagnosis, I went in for an operation. The doctor had to put a small hole in each eye to relieve the high pressure. The recovery was very fast, but I was unable to drive for a while afterwards. I did see halos around things for about one year after the surgery!
3. How has glaucoma affected your daily life?
Fortunately, at this point in time glaucoma hasn’t had a big impact on my day-to-day life. I have to put special drops in my eyes that have a strange side effect of making my eyelashes very long. The drops also cause some eye irritation, and I more recently discovered that I have an allergy to one of the drops. I also have to see my eye specialist at least every six months to monitor the glaucoma.
4. You are going in for a procedure in the next few weeks. Do you mind sharing what that will entail and what you expect to gain from the procedure?
My new specialist is going to put a lens and special drain to my eye in order relieve the pressure. I am hoping this procedure will help correct my long distance and close-up vision and that I will no longer have to use the prescription eye drops that are causing me eye irritation.
5. As someone who got diagnosed with glaucoma younger in life, do you have any advice for people who are at risk of developing the condition?
Because glaucoma is one of those diseases that can develop quite silently, it is very important to go for routine eye exams. Be sure to have your eye doctor test your eye pressure and tell them if you have a family history of glaucoma.
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