Anthony's story

Anthony was diagnosed with glaucoma at the age of 40 during a routine eye test. He later found out his grandfather had gone blind from the disease.

Anthony Walsh

Don’t take your eyesight for granted!

I am an architectural technologist, so my work involves a lot of computer work. The company I work for provides free eye tests, so in 2010 I decided to go along for one as I hadn’t had my eyes tested for a while.

During the test, the optician asked me whether there was any family history of glaucoma. I had a vague recollection that my grandfather had experienced eye problems but the details were sketchy, so she decided to take a scan of my eyes. When she showed me the images, there was clearly something very different with my left eye. Luckily my company provided me with private healthcare insurance, so I was able to be referred quickly.

I saw a consultant and he confirmed that I had glaucoma. He explained the diagnosis to me and handed me some leaflets and a prescription for eye drops, which I’ve used every day since.

At the time of diagnosis, I didn’t really know much about glaucoma or the consequences of having the disease. But after visiting the optician, then seeing the specialist and reading through the leaflets, reality soon hit home. I realised the significance, not least because of the job I do. I remember thinking ‘How can I do my job if I lose my eyesight?’.

Being told that this could potentially happen was initially a shock, but the early diagnosis along with the treatment and after-care I’ve received has certainly helped calm my concerns. Although there is always something there in the back of my mind.

I wasn’t fully aware of any family history until after my diagnosis, when I discovered that my late grandfather had in fact lost his eyesight to glaucoma. I have two adult daughters and a teenage son. All three regularly visit the optician, who is aware that I have the disease. He now takes scans each time they visit to monitor for changes or any abnormalities.

In addition to taking eye drops every day, I go to my local opticians for an eye scan and field tests, which I take with me when I go to see my consultant twice a year. I haven’t been able to see my consultant since COVID-19 struck, however, I’ve had telephone consultations with him to discuss whether I’ve been experiencing any issues. Now that we seem to be coming out of lockdown, I’ll hopefully be seeing him in person soon.

My advice to anyone reading this is to visit your optician regularly and make them aware if you have any family history of glaucoma. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can receive appropriate treatment. Don’t take your eyesight for granted!

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