29 yr old glaucoma suspect, so scared :(

Posted , 15 users are following.

I've always had bad eyesight but did not think too much about it. I just went to local optometrists to get new glasses/contact lens prescriptions every year, and nothing ever came up. No family history of eye diseases (other than my mother and my younger sister also having nearsightedness, though mine is the worst) and my eyesight has been stable for past 7+ years.

I went in for my usual annual check up two weeks ago, and the optometrist told me I may have glaucoma in my left eye. She said she sees cupping in the digital retinal image. She didn't mention IOP, but when I checked the papers later, both eyes were 21 mmHg. I started gathering previous paper works (been to multiple optometrists due to insurance change, living in USA), and for some reason, my IOP wasn't written down last year, and in 2015 they were around 14-17 mmHg. So at this point, I don't know when my IOP changed. I just know my eyesight didn't change.

The optometrist I saw didn't explain or tell me anything - just gave me a piece of paper that said "glaucoma suspect" and told me to see a specialist. I basically came home and cried, because I was so scared after Googling what that means. I made an appointment with an opthalmologist who has a fellowship in glaucoma last week, but the earliest he is available is 1/8. So I have been stressing out past two weeks, symptom searching (now I feel like I have symptoms that I have never noticed before, can't tell if I have them or I'm making them up). I still have 10 days left until I can see the doctor.

I'm just scared. I am an overall healthy person, regularly exercising, relatively eating healthy (though this I could do better). Husband and I just recently decided we would try for our first baby, and now I'm questioning if I will be able to have a baby while protecting my vision and be able to see long enough to raise the child. I always been excited to become a mom, and now I'm just scared and uncertain about having a child, living my life, etc. 

Has anyone had successful pregnancy/birth with glaucoma? Did you use meds/get surgery or didn't get treatment until after giving birth?

What questions should I ask the doctor during my first appointment? Any tips/advice?

0 likes, 22 replies

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  • Posted

    Sue,

    I was found to have high pressures when I was 48, (around 27 in both eyes) I am now 73, and can still see OK.     They didn't even put me on eyedrops for the first 7 years, but just kept me under observation every 6 to 9  months.    Went on eyedrops in 1997!     They can prevent further vision loss now they have found out.    Now that you know about it, and you are going to see a specialist soon, you are no worse off than when you didn't know.   You now have the advantage that something is going to be done about it.         

    • Posted

      Dear Alcantara,

      Thank you for your response! Your story is very encouraging. Did you have nearsightedness along with glaucoma?

      I was being very hard on myself because I thought I could've done something to find out earlier, have kids earlier, etc. Things maybe I could've done but didn't. But you are right in that I'm lucky that I know I'm a suspect now (hopefully early), and I can do something about it.

    • Posted

      Sue,

      i was first diagnosed as a glaucoma suspect 20 years ago.  Now it is glaucoma.  I have not lost any vision.  So far, it is just my left eye which is affected.  If u make sure u keep your dr appointments, take the drops as prescribed you will be fine.  One of my friends has lost peripheral vision in one eye but she never went to an ophthalmologist until she noticed vision lost. Once lost it cannot come back.  When I am ready for glaucoma surgery dr will put in a drainage stent to help lower pressure.  They are making progress & currently clinical trials.  

    • Posted

      Dear Dancer,

      Thank you for your reply. I am praying I didn't lose any peripheral vision yet (I read one usually does not know until it's really bad) and that my sight will remain stable for a long time. I didn't think I would have this kind of fear at age 29, especially when both my parents are so healthy and well in their 60s - but life is full of curve balls and surprises I guess.

  • Posted

    Dear Sue,

     

    Calm yourself and stop worrying. It is good that a potential problem has been identified so early and can be fairly easily controlled. I am no expert, but it the complaint should in no way at all affect your health otherwise and certainly not your capacity as a mother!

    My own glaucoma was rather late in identification. It was my fault as I skipped so many annual eyetests.  However, nightly drops in the eyes do the job and generally have few side-effects.  The treatment is just an addition to your bedtime routine:  add it after you brush your teeth.

    Happy New Year!

    • Posted

      Dear John,

      Thank you for your response. It's been a roller coaster of emotions (feeling normal one hour, then suddenly feeling very fearful the next). I think being brushed off after the initial glaucoma suspect diagnosis made things go out of control - it led me to search the Internet and go bonkers. I should've just made the appointment with the doctor and leave it be....

      I really hope the treatment will be as simple as you say - I wouldn't mind adding another bedtime routine if it means I can continue my life as it is right now!

  • Posted

    Sue, Although the optemetrist told me I had early cupping, the specialist found that I did not.     Only high pressure.   I eventually went on drops just as a precaution, and now 20 years later, they are still saying I don't have glaucoma.     I could see normally when it was discovered, but  now wear reading glasses for reading, but none at all when out and about.   Bob   

    • Posted

      Dear Bob,

      I hope my cupping is as  benign as yours. My nearsightedness is very bad (-7.25/-7.5), and I am praying they won't become worse.

  • Posted

    Sue, like others on this forum I had an early diagnosis of glaucoma at age 30.  I am 77 with very little optic nerve damage in my left eye. I don't believe cupping is always due to glaucoma.  I was devastated when I went through what you are experiencing now. Your warning sign was caught very early. Most people who get treatment and an early diagnosis do not go blind. I too am in the USA. I wish you well and please know I relate to what you are going through. Marion

    • Posted

      Dear Marion,

      I am keeping my fingers crossed. But after looking at my glasses prescription over 5 years, I did notice that my eyes have been becoming worse ever so slightly each year....... So I'm nervous again. I thought they were pretty stable, but perhaps I was wrong.

  • Posted

    Sue, in my personal experience, eyeglass prescriptions are not related to loss of vision due to glaucoma. Glaucoma is called the Silent Thief because patients don't often know they have it.  Open-angle glaucoma is insidious and often slow.  An eyeglass prescription change would not be used to correct the damage caused by glaucoma. Optic nerve damage begins with the loss of peripheral vision.  I have that kind of damage to a very small portion of one eye.  I can't tell I have any vision loss it is so small. I can remember my suffering when I got the kind of news you did and I feel bad for you. For me, getting a professional exam from a qualified person was a relief and I hope that for you. I am sorry for your suffering.  Nothing helped me when I was in your shoes at age 30.  It is a frightening experience but as you can see from people writing here, it can be successfully treated.  

    • Posted

      That's interesting. Perhaps my eyeglasses prescription change is a whole another animal.

      I honestly cannot tell if I have any noticeable symptoms of glaucoma at the moment, because I had similar symptoms (i.e. glare, starburst, floaters, dry eyes, etc) all my life due to my nearsightedness. And I can't seem to notice any peripheral vision loss on my own, though I guess if it's a small loss only the vision field test would tell.

      I'm mostly afraid of side effects from eye drops and how that may affect my ability to become/be pregnant. I don't want to risk losing my vision, but at the same time, I don't want to risk hurting the baby.... So far from what I read online, it seems like I'll have to take a risk and give one up for the other - which is quite upsetting.

  • Posted

    Hello Sue,

    Like you I am a glaucoma suspect and I also have an appointment / test with the opthamologist in about a week.  I went through the same processs you are going it is quite stressful.  To help myself deal with this, I’ve done considerable research and the bottom line is that only 2-3 percent of glaucoma suspects are identified as having glaucoma. 

    Even if you have been identified as having glaucoma- if you use the eye drops as prescribed - you should be good. 

    There are many other things you can do to keep your IOP lower.

    Diet and stress are extremely important.  Additionally, a nutritionally rich diet helps to strengthen the optic nerve to make it less susceptible to damage from IOP.

    And yes based on my research - almost everyone with this condition lives a normal life - if they take the medications properly and follow up on doctors visits properly. 

    Hopefully all will be fine - best of luck.

    Shiv

    • Posted

      Dear Shiv,

      Thank you for the statistics. I've been changing my diet and exercise a bit since the initial suspicion, to include more veggies/fruit and to avoid moves that raises pressure to my head. I haven't really figured out how to work my abs without causing too much pressure to my head...(also not so sure if push ups and planks are safe).

      I'm off from work at the moment until 1/2, so I have had time to eat healthier. Now I'm trying to figure out how to continue the changed diet once I go back to work without being stressed out too much. I guess that's another thing - stress - that I need to learn to manage better somehow.

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