Like many people do around their birthday’s, I spent some time at the DMV in order to renew my driver’s license. Just as I have done for the past 20+ years, I had no concerns about reading off the letters in the mini eye exam machine awkwardly propped on the edge of the counter. So pushed my head down on the machine and started reading…
When I heard the lady say, “Do you wear glasses?”
And I replied, “No”
and she said, “Well maybe you should get an eye exam and read row C again.”
I apparently just barely passed and this concerned me enough to go ahead and get an eye exam scheduled.
Once I had the knowledge that I couldn’t see well, I began to notice how hard it was for me to focus. How clocks and road signs were becoming increasingly difficult for me to see and how I was moving the menu up close to my eyes.
When I finally had my eyes examined by a doctor, I found out not only did I need glasses but I also have something called closed angle/narrowed angle glaucoma.
At first I was shocked by this news. I am only 42 years old, how in the world could I have glaucoma. Isn’t this an “old” persons disease? Well, apparently not! Narrow/closed angle glaucoma is a rare form of glaucoma, in which the drainage chamber of the eye becomes partially blocked. According to my doctor, it is often genetic, occurs more often in women and usually detected in women in their 40’s. The scary thing about this type of glaucoma is that there is a chance of a sudden attack which could lead to permanent blindness if not treated.
Because this is not a medical blog, I want to be very careful about what information I share about the actual illness, so I am not going to go into a lot of detail. The good thing about this type of glaucoma is that there is a procedure that corrects the closure and reverses any chance of an attack. Later this week I will be undergoing a simple in-office procedure called Laser Iridotomy. The procedure will takes less than one minute. The doctor will shoot one tiny, minuscule hole into my iris, creating a second channel for fluid to drain from the eye. I will need to use drops for a few weeks but otherwise I can go back to all my normal activities within a couple of hours.
Coincidentally, when I started writing this post, I found out that January is also National Glaucoma Awareness Month. After learning more about glaucoma, I wanted to make sure that I encourage each and every one of my readers to learn more about this disease, to have regular eye examines and to not ignore any subtle eye changes. Yes, needing that pair of drugstore reading glasses is a part of getting older but do not self treat yourself! Make sure that regular eye exams are part of your yearly health checks.
When was your last eye exam? How do you make sure you keep your eyes healthy?