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Tanika’s story

Tanika’s mum’s glaucoma diagnosis was in 2015 through a routine eye test. Tanika has shared her mum’s story about living with glaucoma and how she decided to run the Robin Hood half marathon to raise awareness of the disease. 

Tanika and her mum

To anyone who is supporting a loved one who has been newly diagnosed with glaucoma, I would like to say, take each day as it comes, seek support from friends, family, and colleagues, and talk about glaucoma to raise awareness.

When my mum first learned about her glaucoma, we didn’t realise the potential damage and impact it could have. We had heard of glaucoma before, but we did not know much about the disease. Although Mum was diagnosed with glaucoma in 2015, we were only informed in 2023 that she would need at least two operations. Balancing the surgeries with my full-time job was intense, and I became her primary caregiver during the recovery from both operations. I feel that if my mum had been given sufficient information earlier, we may have been able to prevent the need for surgery. She was prescribed eye drops then moved onto tablets, but neither were keeping her eye pressure low enough.  

Since the surgeries, I have done my own research and sought answers from our consultant so that I can provide my mum with as much support and relevant information as I can. The ‘driving with glaucoma’ information on the Glaucoma UK website was very useful for us.  

Family history is one of the risk factors of glaucoma. Although this is a concern it’s not something that I let myself worry about. I encourage my family members to get eye tests and raise anything that seems unusual with their eye health. I try to keep a positive outlook and take each day as it comes.  

Last year, I signed up to run the Robin Hood half marathon, taking on the challenge not only to raise funds but also to increase awareness for Glaucoma UK. The idea, initially suggested by my partner, didn’t immediately resonate with me, as I was hesitant about running a half marathon. However, as he explained the potential positive impact of supporting a meaningful cause, my thoughts shifted. I instantly thought about the idea of supporting individuals with glaucoma, but I knew it would be a huge challenge. Eager to maintain my motivation and contribute to a good cause, I committed to running the half marathon around the same time as my mum’s surgeries. This decision led me to explore glaucoma charities, ultimately bringing me to Glaucoma UK. Once I found the charity, I registered for the race and dedicated myself to my training regimen. 

My mum was still in recovery from her first operation, so balancing training and supporting her was really exhausting. My partner also ran the half marathon, so having someone else close to me that was training for the same event and was willing to support my mum made it feel like I wasn’t in it alone. 

On race day, my family, friends, and colleagues were there to support me. Everyone who came out to cheer people on made a huge difference. My family was there, with a huge banner just before the halfway mark, which really gave me a boost. I could hear my mum cheering, and it made me feel so proud. I am so grateful for all the support I have received from friends, family, and colleagues. It feels strange to say ‘I’ was able to raise money for charity; it feels as though I should be saying ‘we,’ because I couldn’t have done this without the help of those around me. 

To anyone who is supporting a loved one who has been newly diagnosed with glaucoma, I would like to say, take each day as it comes, seek support from friends, family, and colleagues, and talk about glaucoma to raise awareness. Also, make sure to attend regular eye tests. 

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