Auckland-based sports physio, Mark Plummer, was thrown a curve ball that he’s managed to sidestep thanks to a simple eye health check.
When Mark was approaching 30, he had a busy career as an NZ Cricket physio. Glaucoma was the last thing on his mind as he thought of it as an eye disease that affected older people. So, during a routine consultation for his glasses, it was a surprise to hear from his optometrist that he had high eye pressure. This was also unexpected news as he has no family history of glaucoma, although his father has since been diagnosed with glaucoma later in life.
Mark’s optometrist referred him to a specialist, who later confirmed the glaucoma diagnosis. At this stage, Mark did some further research to find out more about glaucoma and was thankful for his surgeon’s reassurance that it could be contained through treatment.
Now 57, Mark has had a successful career as a physio for NZ Cricket, Auckland Rugby, and the Auckland Blues. However, he knows that his professional journey would have looked quite different if his eye health test hadn’t detected glaucoma early. Thanks to an early diagnosis, Mark’s glaucoma is now well managed through treatment, and he’s noticed very little impact on his lifestyle.
Mark’s top tip for managing glaucoma is that you need to keep up with treatment. Regular eye drops are now part of his life, with an unexpected flattering side effect – longer eye lashes! He’s aware that those with a family history of glaucoma have a higher risk of developing the disease, so all his four children have also had their eyes checked by an optometrist.
Mark’s thankful that his glaucoma was picked up early on and wants others to know that being diagnosed with glaucoma doesn’t necessarily mean that your life will significantly change. His advice is to get any changes in your vision checked and book regular eye health checks from age 40 onwards. This is the best way to protect your future and keep doing all the things you love.