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Alison’s story

Alison Davis was at higher risk of developing glaucoma due to her brother having the disease. However, the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant she had to wait a year before being diagnosed.

I don’t know whether I have experienced life-changing consequences due to the pandemic.

I learned that my visual field test wasn’t satisfactory during a routine eye test in July 2020. The optician told me he was going to make a routine referral to the local hospital but didn’t mention anything about glaucoma, so I wasn’t unduly worried. Due to the delays caused by COVID-19, I ended up waiting a year for my referral. By the time I was sent the appointment information in July 2021, I had almost forgotten about it.

I was shocked to learn I had glaucoma. My brother has it, as did my maternal aunt, but I knew very little about the disease other than it could lead to sight loss.

The consultant was very informative and supportive. He said he had every confidence I wouldn’t lose my sight and encouraged me to look at the glaucoma UK website for advice. We discussed treatment options and he reassured me that I would have regular check-ups.

My first treatment was very quick after diagnosis as there was no waiting list due to there being no clinics during the pandemic. I had a bilateral SLT (selective laser trabeculoplasty) in late July 2021, though it hasn’t lowered my pressures so I’m due to have it again.

I remain worried about progressive vision loss. But knowledge is power, so I have downloaded resources from the glaucoma UK website and watched their webinars on eye drops and laser treatment, which proved revelatory. I’ve also found the charity’s Health Unlocked forum helpful.

Waiting a year to be diagnosed and the possible damage this could have caused to my vision concerns me. I’m unsure how much my vision has been affected by the delay in diagnosis, so I don’t know whether I have experienced life-changing consequences due to the pandemic. Though of course an unexpected and delayed glaucoma diagnosis might count as that.