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Lesley’s rare glaucoma story

Lesley had been getting piercing pains in her eyes and headaches in the evenings for about 3 years. Each time she had her eyes tested; she was given the all-clear. She didn’t know she had a type of glaucoma called acute closed angle glaucoma which left untreated, would have resulted in her losing her vision.

“I probably had these symptoms for three years. I used to get severe pain, almost like a migraine, my vision would be blurred, and I would feel sick. The symptoms presented predominantly at dusk, and mostly in the winter. I was unable to drive in the evenings and my only relief was to put a patch on my eye and go to sleep. It was pure agony. I tried to take medication for my migraines, but nothing worked.”

Lesley had been to the opticians twice within the three-year period of her struggling with the condition, but she was told that everything was normal.

“I thought the symptoms were the result of ptosis of the eyelid, as I had suffered from that since birth, which is why I kept going to the opticians to try and find out if it was linked. It made me depressed because I couldn’t go out when it was dark and frustrated me because no one knew what was wrong and I couldn’t fix it.”

In 2011, Lesley paid for a consultation at private hospital, hoping they could diagnose her and find a solution.

“The doctor put drops in my eyes, and I told her that the way you’ve just distorted my vision is what I get in the evening but she told me there was nothing wrong with me and that I just needed new glasses.”

“It was horrible as I felt that no one believed me because during the day I was fine, my results were all clear.”

It was only in a passing conversation, after she started working at Broadhurst Optometrists, that one of the optometrists tested her eyes after 4pm when one of her regular headaches started.

“I remember explaining my symptoms to one of the optometrists and she was able to check my eyes in the early evening as my headaches started. This is when she discovered I had acute closed angle glaucoma and my pressures were through the roof!”

What is acute closed angle glaucoma?

It is a serious condition which makes the pressure inside your eye rise very suddenly, in a matter of hours in fact. It occurs because of the fluid in your eye can’t drain away like it should.

It isn’t as common as other types of glaucoma which causes a slower build-up of pressure in the eye called intraocular pressure. For more information about the condition click here:

During the day, Lesley’s ocular pressures were normal which is why it is difficult to identify this condition. When her symptoms were at their worst, she would sometimes get pressures within the range of 60-70 mmHg (around 15-21mmHg is normal pressure of the eyes).

“I was immediately referred to the hospital which resulted in getting the Yag laser eye surgery. This involved having laser holes drilled into my iris’, it sounds scary, but I promise it is completely painless. They did one eye at a time and I am now thankfully completely symptom-free.

“The condition is very hard to pick up and if it wasn’t detected when it had been, I would have started to lose my sight.”

Lesley’s sister has also been diagnosed with the condition and is going through the surgery process and it is only through the information and education about the condition that Lesley could advise others to have their eyes tested later in the day.

“People really need to know about this, if they think they could have it they need to be vigilant and not take no for an answer. Go and get your sight tested in the evening, go later when you have the symptoms as it will show your pressures are really high and that’s the most important thing.”

If you’d like to know more about how glaucoma occurs, its risk factors and symptoms have a read of our last blog here:


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