For Barbara, a move across the world to New Zealand not only meant settling into a new country. It also meant being diagnosed with glaucoma.
A move and a diagnosis
Originally from England, Barbara had spent all of her professional life working in France for the British Council. After falling in love with New Zealand while visiting some Kiwi friends she’d made through the organisation Servas, she decided to take the plunge and move to our shores.
Living in France, Barbara had always had regular eye checkups. However, no one had ever identified any hint of glaucoma in Barbara’s eyes before. It was only when she went for a routine checkup in New Zealand that her optometrist noticed something concerning about her eye pressure.
“Thank goodness they spotted it then,” says Barbara. “I can’t imagine what might have happened if no one picked up on it.”
After being referred to the Eye Institute, it was confirmed that Barbara had the beginnings of glaucoma and she was officially diagnosed.
An Emotional Journey
“I was very panicked to begin with,” Barbara recalls. “Anything to do with the thought of losing my eyesight extremely frightened me.”
However, Barbara soon grew more confident upon realising the care her ophthalmologists put into her treatment. After being put on eye drops and having regular visits for checkups, she calmed down knowing the good hands she was in. In fact, Barbara is treated by our very own Chairperson Professor Helen Danesh-Meyer!
“I feel quite lucky to be being looked after in New Zealand. There’s a lot of sincerity and attention with New Zealand treatment that I haven’t come across in other places I’ve lived.”
Barbara is still on the same eye drops she’s been using from the beginning and has luckily not seen a considerable impact on her eyesight. For her, managing her glaucoma is all about sticking to her regular checkups and her treatment plan – although she often has to leave herself reminders around the house to take her eye drops! Currently, in Thames, she makes the trip to Auckland every few months to make sure her eye pressures are stable and safe.
Getting support from Glaucoma NZ
It wasn’t long after being diagnosed with glaucoma that Barbara was referred to Glaucoma New Zealand. Learning more about glaucoma made a huge difference for Barbara after finding out she had the condition, and learning about her eyes helped alleviate some of the uncertainty. She still turns to new research and articles to answer any questions about glaucoma that pop up – especially considering that what we know about the condition is constantly changing. Over the years, she’s attended some of our patient symposiums and is always blown away by the number of other people battling the same condition.
For Barbara, sticking to her treatment plan as much as possible and trusting her doctors has had an enormous impact.
“When I first found out I had glaucoma, I was absolutely terrified. I had no idea what to expect. Now, I’m happy and thrilled with how my treatment has gone and I’m so glad I can get the care I need here.”