January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Six months ago, I was diagnosed with glaucoma. WOW! I decided to randomly have an eye exam, which I hadn't had in over 10 years, because I had good insurance to do so. After a routine check, I was told that I needed to see a eye specialist because it was very obvious that I had glaucoma, especially in my left eye. ... But my vision was perfectly fine ... by the way! What a gut punch! After following up with two specialists, I was told that the damage in my left eye is pretty extreme and irreversible... and that this has been going on for a long time. This took me back to when I was about 10 years old and during a routine eye exam, the docs told my mom I had glaucoma... (impossible for a 10 year old, right). After further testing, they told us that it wasn't glaucoma.. false alarm. WHO KNEW!! When I told the specialists this story, all they could do is shake their head. First of all, it is unusual for someone my age to have glaucoma as is... let alone at 10 years old. In the following years, I've always had great vision tests and no other concerns. As I got older I kind of just stopped going to the eye doctor. Fast forward to some 15 years later... in a random eye exam at a local eye store.
Within the last six months, I have seen two specialists, began eye drop treatment and just recently had two laser iridotomy procedures on both of my eyes to prevent further damage from the high pressures in my eye. Not only am I "too young" to have glaucoma, but I also have one of the more rare types... Really??? When I look with only my left eye now, it is amazing what I CAN NOT SEE as clearly as my right. I never knew or could tell a difference. It is astonishing how the brain communicates with the eyes, and how they really work together... or overcompensate for the other!
The good news - is that we caught the issue and are working to remedy or maintain my current vision and eye sight. The bad news - is that over time, I have developed major damage to my left eye optic nerve and it's irreversible. And while I still feel fine and see very well, I will be using eye drops for the remainder of my life, which is much better than the alternative of going blind! So how do you turn this type of news around? Simple, my glaucoma diagnosis has helped to improve my nutrition. In researching and talking to an amazing natural health coach, I have become a spinach eating, kale craving, carrot crunching "carnivore" I have increased my intake of Vitamin A, C, Bilberry, Lutein, Omega 3 & 6 and have regularly added berries, almonds, eggs and many other great and super foods to my diet - which I should have been doing all along.
So.. what should you do! Take the time to get everything checked out! January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Learn about glaucoma and other eye conditions that you may be walking around with. For more information on glaucoma, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Learn how to protect your eyes as well as those in your family. I'll admit, I roll with the doctor and dentist regularly... (most people avoid them); but, I took advantage of my "good eyesight" and didn't focus on the eye doctor. Lessons learned: "There are none so blind as those who will not see."