I Take Control of My Glaucoma—I Don’t Let It Take Control of Me

Stephanie’s story will show you how to save your vision.

Diana Bierman
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When Stephanie Handler noticed blurry vision at age 42, she scheduled an eye exam—something she hadn’t done in 10 years—and was shocked to find out she had advanced glaucoma (high eye pressure that can damage the optic nerve) in her left eye. “Having seen clearly my entire life, I figured it was just time for prescription eyeglasses,” she recalls.

Stephanie first reacted with grief and denial—“I’d wake up each morning in tears wondering if I was going to go blind that day”—but soon took control and visited eye surgeon A. Sydney Williams, MD, at San Francisco General Hospital. “You have to find a doctor you can trust,” she stresses.

A condition controlled
Stephanie now has regular eye exams and uses prescription eyedrops to keep her glaucoma in check. The result? “My condition is controlled, and my eye pressure has been low for the past two years,” says Stephanie, who still has slightly blurry vision in her left eye (vision loss due to glaucoma is not reversible). Stephanie also works with groups like the Glaucoma Research Foundation, Prevent Blindness Northern California and That Man May See at the University of California, San Francisco.

Adds Stephanie: “You can’t feel high eye pressure, just like you can’t feel high blood pressure,” she explains. "Glaucoma is not just a disease your grandmother has. It can happen to anyone.”  

April 2013