Imagine a life where you live in a 5-star award-winning luxury lodge in a remote and picturesque part of New Zealand. Waipoua Lodge is nestled on a ridge overlooking the vast Waipoua Forest, where iconic kauri trees have been living for well over 3,000 years.
Recently I met Ann Sissons, who, with her partner, purchased the Lodge in 2020, just before Covid hit. Together they manage the property and prepare silver service cuisine for their guests, regaling the area’s unique history in a luxurious setting.
Ann is well-travelled and educated, dividing her time to support family in Melbourne, Auckland and Taranaki while juggling the demands of running a hospitality business. I got the feeling that Ann is pragmatic, tackles everything positively as part of life’s adventure, and loves helping others and learning, so it wasn’t surprising that her glaucoma diagnosis was dealt with in a similar way.
Her younger sister is an optometrist, and as such Ann knew to have regular eye tests every two years. She also knew glaucoma was a disease of the optic nerve but had little knowledge of what it was until her sister suspected she had it following a routine eye health test. Her vision was good, and there seemed little to no symptoms, so those regular eye tests meant Ann has been diagnosed early and this means she has less irreversible damage to her optic nerve.
At her first ophthalmology appointment, Ann had already established that there wasn’t glaucoma in her family, but she was keen to solve how she came to have it. Following gentle questioning from her ophthalmologist, Ann revealed she lived with migraines, which appears to be the key to solving her mystery.
Ann felt calm at the first appointment until the specialist suggested laser treatment. Ann said, “It was just as well she didn’t give me a moment more to think about it, or I might not have done it, but I’m so glad I did. It was quick, painless, so easy and I’d highly recommend it.” She has a drop at night, and a couple of years on, she has added a drop in the morning, and none of this impacts Ann’s busy lifestyle.
She takes her drops religiously as she is aware that the early diagnosis and regular treatments are her best chance to maintain control over the disease. Despite being a confident person, she found that the first ophthalmology appointment was a little daunting, particularly as there is so much information to take in. She emphasised the importance of asking questions, and advocated for taking someone else with you to your appointments, or even asking your specialist if you could record the session on your phone so you can review their answers later.
If you would like to know more about glaucoma and migraines, please read the article on our website or contact us.