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  • Dear Friends/Family, I would like to share a contribution page with you which has been created in the $bookTitle$ book. To view the page please click on the following link: $findContributionLink$ The International Glaucoma Association: Our Stories https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/glaucoma/Contributions/Find/YourStories/georgiemorrell
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/glaucoma/Contributions/Find/YourStories/georgiemorrell

    Georgie Morrell

    | 30 May 2018

     

    I was three years old and I turned to my Dad and said my knees hurt. Not my eyes. My knees. Within days I went from an ordinary, tiny, rather inquisitive three year old to, to what my dad called, a withdrawn animal. Allow me to give some context. I was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at three. This leads to uveitis, inflammation of the eye and soon enough glaucoma joins the party. Glaucoma is often a condition associated with the elderly. I believe it is often dismissed for this reason but more so because you can't see glaucoma - no pun intended. There are no lumps, wounds or X-rays. I am here to tell you it does and can affect anyone of any age and we should not forget this. I was three years old and I can tell you that it is ever present and I live with its effects and experience them every day. I had the most spectacular treatment by our brilliant NHS. The doctors acted so quickly to try stop the conditions from progressing; prevention rather than cure. Despite their best efforts, by the time I was four, I was diagnosed with uveitis and secondary glaucoma. I was the first child of seven-years-old to have a trabeculectomy. However with all the determination in the world, my left eye gave up and slowly lost its sight. We felt it best to focus on the right eye and retain the sight there, than fight for the eye that could no longer be saved. At 21 the pressure in my right eye plummeted for no reason, detaching my retina and I was left blind for a year. That is the other complication with glaucoma; the pressure can go the other way and a retina can simply pop off. I was once again very lucky and after much deliberation with more remarkable doctors, I have my eye back and the sight that I had lost is nearly all restored; nothing short of a miracle. My glaucoma is managed now by a shunt; a tube in the back of my eye. This was a terrific procedure as it gave me some freedom and peace of mind. It mechanically controls my pressure, like a plumber fitting a pipe to a faulty sink; it really is about good plumbing! I can rest knowing that, along with my eye drops and six monthly appointments that I can get on living and not be plagued by a paranoia the worst will happen. I’m determined to raise more awareness of this condition. It can go unknown for years and then the damage is done. It affects the young the old and nobody is immune to it. Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it’s not there.

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Your stories

  • Dear Friends/Family, I would like to share a contribution page with you which has been created in the $bookTitle$ book. To view the page please click on the following link: $findContributionLink$ The International Glaucoma Association: Our Stories https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/glaucoma/Contributions/Find/YourStories/michaelellwood
    https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/glaucoma/Contributions/Find/YourStories/michaelellwood

    Michael Ellwood

    | 30 May 2018

     

    My name is Michael; I have advanced open angle chronic glaucoma in both eyes. I was diagnosed with the condition in 1997 at the age of 44. I was a young professional man with a family and a hectic lifestyle that did not or would not conceive the possibility of eye failure, and like many I put off having my eyes tested for many years. Eventually though, I hesitantly decided to bite the bullet and have an eye examination. If only I had done so few years earlier, I would not be writing these words now, because the words “it could never happen to me” happened to me, as it can to anyone in life. When the optician informed me I had glaucoma, my initial thought was “Ok, but what is glaucoma?” Perhaps it’s something I have always had, it has never been spotted before and it would not kill me. I had just driven to the opticians, I could see perfectly. This short self-reassurance lasted only as long as the optician took to write a letter to my doctor, put it in my hand and told me to see my doctor who would refer me to hospital. At the hospital the next day, I was informed that I had advanced glaucoma and had lost a great deal of sight, sight which would never return. The hospital advised me to inform the DVLA as it was likely that I would have to surrender my driving licence. The next day at work, I was informed that I would not be permitted to drive on company business and would temporarily be given a desk job. All this happened within the space of two days, two days in which the multiple feelings of bewilderment, anxiety, astonishment and oh yes, denial of diagnosis, fought each other within me for supremacy. Glaucoma is the silent whisperer of death to good eyesight, silent in that it creeps ever so slowly up on you. Don’t be fooled by the thought of, “I can see perfectly.” Can you really? Challenge that thought and be tested. Lack of vision means never taking anything for granted, alertness is now my watchword; greater concentration brings reward (safety). Crowded spaces can be challenging, even alarming, to visually impaired people: crowds rushing by, knocking into you, loud voices heard but not seen may bring unease and anxiety. The loss of sight never really affects just the individual. If there is a family network in the background, close relatives have to monitor their own sight for signs of glaucoma, and a greater dependence and strain is put on the family when one member becomes visually impaired. I have about 7 percent total sight left now, in other words glaucoma with severe sight loss and the hospital, Addenbrookes check me every eight weeks. I haven’t overcome glaucoma yet, but nor has it overcome me, nor will it. My one great hope is that through scientific research, e.g. stem cell research, mankind will find a lasting cure for this malignant condition. The trials and tribulations of my blindness over many years has only been offset by good humour, love, hope and a desire to accomplish as much as I am able to within the bounds of my disability. In truth I did not need to have trials and tribulations, falls, knocks, anxiety etc. All I needed to have (at the right time) was a short, painless eye examination. It is never too early to maintain the health of your eyes.

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