Jamie Cleine, the 45-year-old Mayor of Buller District Council, counts himself as lucky that he had some great advice to get his eyes tested, as otherwise he could be facing a different future.

When Jamie first had difficulty reading his text messages and experienced headaches in July this year, his initial thought was to head to a pharmacy to buy reading glasses, but a colleague recommended that he had his vision assessed by an optometrist instead. So, while wandering through a shopping mall with a friend, he passed a Specsavers and decided to book an eye health check. At this appointment he was shocked to receive the news from the optometrist that he had suspected glaucoma.

A diagnosis of glaucoma in both eyes was later confirmed in August by his ophthalmologist, and despite having no earlier signs of glaucoma other than his recent symptoms, his glaucoma was at an acute stage. This diagnosis also coincided with a state of emergency in the Buller district due to flooding, so it was a difficult time for such a diagnosis and to face fears of going blind.

Jamie’s glaucoma is now well managed through his eye drops and he wears prescription glasses to aid his close-range vision. Thanks to this treatment, the pressure in his eye is reducing, and he says that the main day-to-day impact of his glaucoma is remembering to apply his eye drops during his busy day as Mayor, a treatment he will likely require for the rest of his life.

Jamie’s decision to have an eye exam was a life-changing one, as he reflects that if his glaucoma wasn’t detected when it was, he may have continued undiagnosed and lost vision.  His advice for Kiwis turning 40 is;

“it’s important to add an eye health check to the list of what you need to get checked when you turn 40 – it’s simple and non-invasive, but if you put off getting your vision checked for too long then it may be too late.”

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