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From Diagnosis to Living with Glaucoma – Elaine White

“At the beginning of 2016 I made an appointment at the Eye Clinic, Tamaki Campus in Auckland, to have an eye test as I suspected I might need new glasses. I was aged 71.

I was referred to the clinic at the Auckland Medical School for further tests and was stunned to hear I had glaucoma in both eyes. I have no family history of this.


I was referred to Mark Donaldson at Eye Doctors at Ascot Hospital, who outlined a plan of action after giving me an extremely full and clear explanation of the type of glaucoma I had (open angle). I immediately began drops and this was followed by cataract operations on both eyes, two laser treatments, and in August 2017 a Xen gel implant in my right eye, a fairly new procedure.

It has been a journey of challenge and discovery. There were down times as I realised that glaucoma cannot be cured. When I first began drops I got more on my cheeks than in my eyes! When reading I recognised the loss of lines on the page. As someone who has valued good health, diet and fitness, this was a new and daunting challenge to accept the situation.

Where there are downs there are always ups. I have found a wonderful specialist whom I have the utmost confidence in. Regular tests and follow-ups are always available as well as access to treatments easily obtained. Regularly receiving information from Glaucoma New Zealand in the way of newsletters and attending seminars is valuable. And reassurance that with continued professional monitoring and determination to do all I can myself will help me remain positive about living with glaucoma and preserving what sight I have left.

I am aware that promoting awareness in the public is so important and I have talked to many people about my situation. Glaucoma New Zealand plays a huge part in awareness of glaucoma in New Zealand and I look forward to supporting them with their objectives.”  

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