January is the International Glaucoma Awareness month. This dangerous and delicate disease can slowly turn into partial or total blindness, if not treated with care and dedication. It’s not something that you get cured of, but you can keep it under control from many years, to a lifetime.
The exceptional case of Olivia Eafano has made the tour of the world. After 11-years, she succeeded in fighting glaucoma for good. How she did it remains not only a secret, but also a miracle.
The teenager had two severe health problems which she fought for more than 10 years, but one day everything got critical. Right in the middle of watching a favorite TV show, she realized that she is unable to see the screen anymore. And the issue wasn’t about the electronically part, because she couldn’t see her mother either. This fact took not only her by surprise, but also her parents and other relatives. Being taken at the hospital, she was diagnosed with uveitis and glaucoma. The effect of glaucoma is that the pressure inside the eye rises and if it is left unsupervised and untreated, it can lead to losing part of the vision or even blindness. The diseases can be activated at both eyes, even if the signs and symptoms can differ from one eye to another. The group of diseases that she has produces damage to the optic nerve, which makes a stop sign on the pathway that is found from the eye to the brain.
At this time, 2 percent of the population of the world lives with Glaucoma and of those, 2 percent are children.
Dr. Stephen Foster, the president and CEO of the Massachusetts Eye Research & Surgery Institution stated in an interview the tragic effects of glaucoma.
“People generally lose their peripheral vision first, and then the damage slowly marches centrally. It’s often called the ‘sneaky thief’ of vision because many people have no symptoms until it reaches the central vision”.
Dr. Jeffrey Schultz, director of the glaucoma service at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City believes that children’s eyes should be examined starting at age 2 and then visit the ophthalmologist once a year to see if there are any changes.
Because Eafano’s disease was caught and treated on time, she succeeded in curing it completely. At the moment,it is internationally known by all scientists that the 16-year old girl fights Glaucoma. She had, of course, the help of Dr.Stephen Foster, who is also her doctor. Medication wasn’t enough, so she had to suffer four surgeries on bother her eyes. As a result, she now has 20/30 vision when wearing her glasses, and in remission.
Image Source: ABC News