Friday, January 12, 2007

The Silent Thief of Sight

I have worn glasses for about 20years ( I am not yet 30, so imagine that!). So for a LOOONG time, I have had to be dependent on glasses and contacts (a thankful breakthrough in technology for fine girls like me who hid behind spectacles, LOL!) for good sight.

The first thing I reach for in the morning are my glasses and they are the last thing I take off at night. Quite frankly, I hate all the bother and would absolutely love to have good sight and not have a panic attack when I need a replacement and the optician says it will be 2 days or even a day befor I can get my prescription filled. Sometimes, I have nightmares about going blind.

HOLD UP! Just realised that all this is long story and that I am making this post about me. It isn't. It is actually about my dear friend who for the past few months has been complaining about his sight. At first, it was that it was blurry and then that he felt really uncomfortable. I kept telling him to go to the optician, he complained that his hospital was dragging it's feet about giving him a referral letter (he uses a HMO). Anyway, at least 4 months after he started this sojourn to see an optician, he finally got to see one.

The sad news is that he has glaucoma. When he told me, all I heard was that he had cataracts which was suprising because I was not aware that it afflicted people in their 30s. "No" he said quietly, "GLAUCOMA -The silent thief of sight". I can not say that I know anything about the condition so I googled it.

Oh boy! My friend was quietly but surely losing his sight but had no idea. As it is, he's lost his peripheral vison and has to turn to look at anyone standing beside him. No more looking out the corner of his eye (stuff others take for granted). You may ask why he did not take quick action then. The thing is that it crept up on him and he kept "managing". If you've ever lost weight or gained a lot of weight, you will have found that you do not notice it immiediately. It's really a gradual proccess.

I was scared and even more so because of these facts:

* Glaucoma is the second biggest cause of blindness worldwide.
* It affects around 60 million people, of whom about 6 million have become blind.
* Half of those affected may not know they have it because symptoms may not occur during the early stages of the disease.
* By the time the patient notices something is wrong, the disease has already caused considerable damage.
* The vision lost to glaucoma is gone forever.
* Medications and surgery can help slow the progression of the disease, but there is no cure.
* People who have a higher risk of developing glaucoma include:
Myopia: short-sightedness

High blood pressure

Glaucoma is really just about a lot of pressure in the eye which leads to damage of the optic nerve.

This is what the vision of someone that suffers from glaucoma is like.

This is actually gradual, you don't wake up and the world is like this.

So please, everyone, go for a test. It's pretty basic and really easy. Yours truly is going for hers pronto. I'll be truly heartbroken if anyone puts up a post saying that they developed glaucoma and did not know abiut it because they did not go for a test.

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  1. you certainly did a good research... i have also had a glaucoma scare... i have to do an extensive eye test every year to make sure it is ok...
    u are surely right... people don't know they have it... it is advisable to do eye test regularly even if you don't use glasses or contact lenses...
    very educational post....

  2. I havent had any eye tests recently. I have always taken my good eye sight for granted. This is really a wake up call.

    It must be pretty sad and depressing for your friend to have developed glaucoma from out of the blues.

  3. Whoa! I've always been short-sighted for as long as I can remember. Glaucoma sounds scary...

  4. @ Ajike: That must have been scary, but it has produced something positive-you will be able to nip it in the bud before it even has a chance to raise its head ( or dim your sight).

    @ calabargal: He was really thrown and even showed up late to work for at least two days after he found out but I did not have the heart to reprimand him ( He reports to me at work). He's gone for further tests and is currently discussing measures to use in preventing further loss of sight with his optician.

    @ Azuka: We suffer from myopia and we are african. Two counts against us? I think we should take a cue from Arike and do the extensive eye exams every year. I am almost always too impatient when doing my exam cos I always think it takes tooo long. I now know better.

  5. Strange enough I love the way glasses look.. I have 20-20 eyesight but i've always wanted a pair of glasses... cos with certain ones you can pull of a certain 'smart sexy'... lol...but dang.. the glaucoma thing is horrible!!!I never even had a clue... thanks for putting that up... but do you have to go and take this test if you have 'perfect vision' at the time?

  6. @ ONB: As a child, I wanted glasses really badly. I thought they were super cool. My older sister, who was 12 years old at the time, shared my opinion and as more of an action babe, she harrased my parents until she was taken to see an optician. She was asked to read the letters on a board and cheated by saying by saying that she could not see a lot of them. Haba, even the largest letters! The optician, my parents, even li'l me were on to her, but she did not care. Anything to get her glasses! LOL!

    She got get them sha! The ugliest, biggest SPECTACLE/GOGGLES you ever saw!They were hideous to say the least! Needless to say, she only wore them when she was at home (my parents insisted for some time that she CORRECTS her sight).

    I guess I liked my glasses for sometime, but when you are actually dependent on something, it sucks and erases any enjoyment you can get out of it. I remember the first time I got contacts- I actually SAW my face for the first time. (If you suffer from myopia, when you remove your glasses and hold up a mirror, you don't really see your face, trust me). I was so happy, I almost cried!

  7. Your sister is really funny! I like her already! I remember wanting to get glasses when I was younger too and till today, my mum still believes I have problems with my eyes. Of course I didn't and still don't but anything to get a pair of glasses. I actually never did get one; i guess I chickened out when I saw my friend Janet's bottle glasses, those put me right off it but my mum kept insisting that I get one. Bless her.

  8. Your sister is quite funny.

    I can't exactly remember how my short sight encroached, but I know I started having to go closer and closer to the board. My teachers woud chase me back to my seat because I was disturbing, but they never knew I was shortsighted.

    My parents took us for eye tests but we never understood what they were for. Eventually, the day I got my glasses, you should have seen rejoicing! It was like Christmas to me, especially when I walked into class 'posing' and everyone wanted to try my glases on! :-D

  9. Ok, so my sister exaggerates a bit! we just had an argument about her version of what happened.
    She is correct about one thing tho'. I wanted those glasses so badly and now in retrospect, they were the ugliest things on earth, but boy! did i feel cool (4giv me-I must have about 13 then).
    Well, they didn't last and such a good thing too as i can't imagine relying on those things.
    My two younger sisters (In my head and around me included) both were glasses-"inherited" the bad eyesight from my father; I don't envy them 2 all.
    In my 30s now & my only relationship with glasses is limited to sunglasses ( & I don't wear them often)
    Anyway, without losing focus, i hope her blog has taught us how much we take things for granted.
    Please remember to ALWAYS thank The Lord for the gifts we have each day. I pray for her friend; he is such a young man-I was really touched when she narrated the story to me


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