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Saturday, February 23, 2013

How I come to terms with my glaucoma .

The bright sky, the distant view is as clear as crystal. We see every object each day and just take things for granted. Nevertheless, one of those days, it dawned on me to have an eye check more thoroughly, because my right eyesight was not very clear then. It was in 2007. After the examination, which was nothing much in a polyclinic, I was referred to be seen by a specialist in SNEC - S'pore National Eye Centre.

My appointment was three months later. It was and still is the norm of SNEC for appointments. My first consultation confirmed I had glaucoma in both eyes with pressure above the normal level..but by then my right eye already was damaged. I was put on eye-drops for both eyes. It was for about 3 months on drops.
The consultant Dr Sharma Pereira than operated on my right eye for glaucoma and cataract. After the operation,  i needed to be on a Research program on the glaucoma eye. It was not that successful...My right operated eye 's pressure dropped to 4. My left eye is on a high of 26. Hence, my left eye was on eye-drop still.

I was  myopic, After the operation, my right eye can see far without glasses. I am no more short-sighted in my right eye. My left eye was still myopic...Hence, I had become 'mono' in vision with one eye short-sighted and the other long-sighted. It took me a while to adjust to such vision.

My left eye was on drops till early 2012, but the pressure hovered at 23, so an operation was deemed necessary. I was operated on in May, 2012 by Dr Desmond Quek (under the tutorial of Dr Jocelyn Chua) and was a success. By then my vision in my left eye was also getting dimmer. It is a permanent feature of glaucoma eyes.

So, after the operation, my vision was checked. My visual acuity on my right was 6/18 and my left 6/12. By then both my eyesight had been permanently damaged by glaucoma though operated on.

During the period of my left eye operation and during recuperation, I fell into depression, unable to accept that my eyesight becomes like that..unable to see clearly even with my corrected glass. My vision is much dimmer now. I was in withdrawal and depression for almost three months..not doing anything..cannot write my articles and a struggle reading the newspaper and books. i was practically rendered useless.... that was my negative thought! In rertospect, it  should not be like that!

I withdrew from my friends and did not want to go out at all. And at times when I think too much, I felt like dying. I lost the will in my meditation. But I tried hard to concentrate on my meditation even for a short stint. And worst, I suffered from insomnia...i was not eating well and lost 5 kg during a span of three months....

In fact, i do not know how I overcome my predicaments, but after 3 months of anguish, I bounced back from my depression, thanks mainly to my will-power to overcome my glaucoma vision. And my night vision too suffered greatly..i am now almost like night-blindness, unable to see vividly in the dark. Only can see the street lamps yet it is not bright too. In the day, if the sun is too bright, I need to wear a dark glass to prevent glare of the sun...

Gradually, I come to terms with my handicap of my eyesight and move on and began writing on my Blog and my Facebook again. This is the reason I am writing now to let glaucoma patients know...suffering from glaucoma is not the end of the world, as long as your vision is saved even by 50%. you are not blind yet. Accept it and live with it...and adjust your lifestyle towards your glaucoma and you still can live a meaningful and normal life.

My vision now is only 40% on my right eye and 70% on my left eye with glasses. Accepting my dimmer vision even in the day and my darkened vision at night. And I do not venture out at night anymore due to my night-blindness. I am accommodating my own lifestyle to my predicament.

How my life is changed due to the glaucoma...I do not enjoy television that much now because of the poor vision, nor do I read for long hours  But thank god, I am able to write without my spectacles. That is why I am writing my encounter and my experience as a glaucoma sufferer. But not too small fonts.

I have  come to term with my condition and glaucoma. I am living a normal albeit a less 'clear' vision life.

In all things that ever befall anyone, if we can conquer our own self-pity and accept the condition as  part and parcel of life's 'destiny' and move on, we can overcome all difficulties...I have overcome mine and live to tell my part of the story of a glaucoma patient and sufferer.

I thank God, I still have the blessed sight of diminishing vision to see but not total blindness..I accept the impermanence of living and look forward to many years of my life blogging, facebook and meditation and doing volunteer charity work. I would have lived a meaningful life of no regrets..I am now 68 years of age. this year 2013 come June my birthday...I am looking forward to celebrating it with my friends.

Life is still great!!

patrick lee song juan