Hello everyone! I do hope you’re okay during those rough times, and if not, I’m sending lots of support and love.

This article is very dear to my heart and emotionally, really complicated to write. But I need to do this, because it is part of my acceptation journey.

I will separate this article in two parts; the first one to introduce my illness, the second one to share my story with you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, whether you’re ill or not – it’s always nice to talk with people.

Sources: Mayoclinic.org, Webmd.com, Wikipedia and my own knowledge/experience

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I. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye condition that damages your optic nerve. It’s often caused by an abnormally high pressure – called intraocular pressure. Glaucoma can lead to vision loss that can’t be recovered or total blindness. Glaucoma has been called the "silent thief of sight" because the loss of vision usually occurs slowly over a long period of time.
50% of people who have glaucoma know they have one. 50% don’t.
Worldwide, Glaucoma is the second reason of blindness after cataracts.

There is no way to prevent glaucoma, so you need to go to your eye doctor regularly (each 3-4 years for an adult) and ask for a dilated eye exam and pressure check out (it's really important!). There is no cure for glaucoma (yet), but getting an early treatment may protect your vision and stop the damages (or at least slow them).

There are different types of Glaucoma – primary and secondary Glaucoma. I won’t write too much about them because I don’t know enough about it (even after researching info).

Open-angle Glaucoma (what I have)

It is the most common form of Glaucoma. It occurs when the iris bulges forwards to block or narrow the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris, resulting in fluid blockage which will make your intraocular pressure increase.

Treatments: Medicines, laser treatment, surgery

Angle-closure Glaucoma (or acute Glaucoma)

This is a medical emergency. The result of the fluid building up quickly can cause a sudden increase in eye pressure. It happens when the outer edge of the iris blocks fluid from draining out of the front of the eye.

Treatments: Medicines, laser treatment

Pigmentary Glaucoma

Pigment dispersion syndrome happens when the pigment from the iris flakes off. The slowing or blocking of the fluid can increase your eye pressure.

Treatments: Medicines, laser treatment, surgery

Glaucoma does not usually happen before 40 year old but usually runs in families. Having diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and/or sickle cell anaemia can increased risks of having glaucoma.
Being extremely near-sighted or far-sighted and having had an eye injury or certain types of eye surgery can increase risks too.

To prevent Glaucoma you can: (non-exhaustive list)

1. Have regular dilated eye exams; the sooner your doctor spots signs of glaucoma, the sooner you’ll be able to get the appropriate treatments.

2. Know your family history; as I said earlier, glaucoma often runs in family. Be careful though, just because you didn’t find any family member having one, doesn’t mean they didn’t (especially when it’s about grand and great-grand parents).

3. Follow your prescribed treatments properly; glaucoma eyedrops need to be used regularly to be effective even when you don’t have any symptoms.

II. My experience

One day my mom went to see her eye doctor and then discovered she had a Glaucoma (actually it wasn’t and we still don’t know what it was) that led her eye doctor to make me have a dilated eye exam and here it is; welcome to the family, Glaucoma! I was 10.

I got surgery twice; two surgeries on my left eye and one on my right. I got my first treatment at 11 and had at least 3 different treatments (I'm still under treatment and may be until my death).

I have several symptoms. Severe headaches, tiredness, eye dryness, light sensitivity (too much light is a problem, not enough light is a problem, screen light is a problem… light is a problem!), etc… I mean, you get the point.

But the worst thing was to come to the realisation and to accept that I was actually ill. Until recently, in my head I wasn’t ill, I just had glaucoma.

In my head I couldn’t be ill because it wasn’t visible, it wasn’t like having cancer, for example (altho not all cancers are visible). My feelings, concerns and condition weren’t valid. But I realise now that I was in denial and you don’t have to look ill to be ill and that you are valid no matter what.

Only a few people that know me know I have glaucoma and none of them (except my mom, psychiatrist and eye doctor) realise that I’m actually ill. They’re in the same state of mind I was before; it’s not an illness, just a part of me. In a way, they aren’t wrong.
Glaucoma IS a part of me but it is also an illness (or eye condition).

I’m always scared to go to the eye doctor because I absolutely dread to potentially hear that I need to undergo surgery again or that my eye pressure is really high. More anxiety to add to my already anxious life haha.

But being is scared is okay. Being sad or having trouble talking about your illness (no matter what it is) is perfectly normal. You shouldn’t be ashamed. Your feeling and condition are valid. YOU ARE VALID.
I am valid.

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Thank you for reading my articles, especially this one.
Don’t hesitate to reach out/send me a message if you want or need to talk, it would be a pleasure!
I’m proud of you.

Love, Emma

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Here’s some collections you might like;

Don’t forget to check the writers group I’m in!

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This article was written by @ShatteredOutburst