The eye drops keep my eye pressure low

Photo of a man doing Nordic Walking (Marcel Mooij / iStockphoto / Thinkstock)

Peter, 64 years old:

“Staying active helped me feel a bit less anxious about the possibility of going blind and the disease progressing.”

I first noticed problems with my eyes when I was working hard in the garden one time: Things started looking blurry. I generally felt unwell at the time, too, so I went to the doctor. The first eye doctor I saw didn’t realize it was glaucoma. The disease was eventually diagnosed by another doctor in 1988.

Using eye drops regularly lowered the pressure in my eye, and I no longer had blurred vision. I use eye drops all the time. That was a problem at first: 20 years ago there weren’t many different kinds of eye drops, and the few that were available back then were often not well tolerated. Luckily that’s changed in the last 10 years or so. I get by fine with my eye drops now. They keep my eye pressure low so I haven’t needed surgery so far.

I use the drops several times a day. It’s part of my daily routine. It’s important to use them regularly and not to forget them. But that works out quite well now that it’s part of my routine. I hardly ever forget to use them. You have to remember to take them with you when you’re out and about or on vacation. It’s a good idea to get a prescription from a doctor before you go, just in case.

When I first found out that I had glaucoma I felt pretty down and anxious. After all, it can lead to blindness. It was diagnosed really late and my field of vision was already quite narrow at the time. It has become even narrower over the years, but I think the treatment has slowed down the progression. Overall, my vision has been pretty stable in the last few years. It did get worse recently but that’s nothing to do with the glaucoma, but with the fact that I also have a cataract now.

My priorities have changed

My family wasn’t as understanding about my diagnosis as I’d hoped. That’s maybe because an eye disease isn’t something other people can see and understand, like a broken leg or something. I feel like there’s a huge difference between experiencing an eye condition yourself and only knowing about it in theory.

My priorities in life changed after the diagnosis. I used to think my career was really important and I worked a lot. The diagnosis made me think differently about myself and how I want to live my life.

I used to play tennis and go jogging in my spare time. I couldn’t really do that anymore with the glaucoma. I've started doing other types of activities instead, like less intensive forms of Nordic Walking and strength exercises. Staying active was really important for me! Then later I started doing a lot of things to help me relax, like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, etc. That really helps.

Stay as relaxed as possible

One big issue for people who have glaucoma is driving. That still isn’t much of a problem for me, but I actually like to use public transport, and take the train whenever I travel longer distances anyway.

I would advise people who develop glaucoma to stay as relaxed as possible about it. Modern medicine can do a lot. If glaucoma is discovered early on, there’s often a good chance that your field of vision will be kept stable and blindness will be avoided. On top of the treatment, I found it important to see what else was good for me, such as hobbies, relaxation and good food. Staying active helped me feel a bit less anxious about the possibility of going blind and the disease progressing.

 

Acknowledgement

Our real-life stories summarize interviews with people who are affected by the medical condition. Our interview partners have given us permission to publish their stories. We would like to express our sincere thanks to them.

The real-life stories give an insight into how other people cope and live with a medical condition. Their opinions and comments are not recommendations by IQWiG.

Please note: The names of our interview partners have been changed to protect their identity. The photos are of models.