Millions diagnosed with glaucoma

Glaucoma called "sneak thief of sight"
Posted at 11:33 PM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2018-12-28 10:08:58-05

At 73 years old, Frances Miller has seen a lot. And being able to see for years to come is her goal.

But achieving that goal has hit some roadblocks.

“Field tests show that there was shading which means a loss of vision,” she said.

Frances originally blamed it on her macular degeneration.

“My eyes didn’t hurt, I didn’t have blurring," she said. 

On top her of macular degeneration, she was diagnosed with glaucoma.

Glaucoma is pressure in the eye that leads to irreversible loss of peripheral vision.

“Glaucoma reduces your vision loss from the out in. In my particular case, I have a loss of vision from macular degeneration which reduces it from the center out, so I’m double whammied," Miller said.

Dr. Tanvi Shah is an ophthalmologist with GBMC and is one of her doctors. She says glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness.

“Glaucoma doesn’t have any signs and symptoms until it’s very advanced…. In terms of risk factors it’s more prevalent in African Americans, then Hispanics and then Caucasians,” Dr. Shah said.

As far as treatment goes, Dr. Shah says it usually starts with eye drops.

“We get them on the eye drops and if they’re compliant, it’s generally sufficient. Compliance is the biggest concern here. Can you take your eye drops? If you can’t, that’s where laser and surgery will be our next steps,” Shah said.

Miller said her body didn’t respond to eye drops, and because of that, she’s had multiple surgeries.

She said she is confidant in her team of doctors, but she’s still a bit nervous for the futures.

"Even though I’ve had the surgeries again, there’s no guarantee my body will respond. Time is the only way to know," Miller said.

Doctors recommend routine eye exams after the age of 40.

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