For some, glaucoma strikes at a young age

April 20, 2012 By Serena Gordon, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay) -- Though only 15 when diagnosed with juvenile open-angle glaucoma, A.J. Esguerra said he's tried not to let the potentially devastating eye disease slow him down.

"It's not the end of the world," said Esguerra, now 23 and living in Cambridge, Mass. "I've continued on with all of my activities, and I look at it as just one other thing I have to deal with, and I find a way to manage."

Like many people with the disease, Esguerra had no idea he was losing some of his peripheral vision to glaucoma. It wasn't until he went for a routine eye exam that doctors discovered he had higher than normal pressure in his eyes.

Before he was diagnosed, he'd already lost some peripheral vision in his left eye, which he said is noticeable when he reads.

Since being diagnosed, Esguerra has had three surgeries, uses eye drops daily and gets frequent follow-up eye care. "I see the eye doctor every three months unless my eye pressure goes up, and then it can be as much as once a month," he said.

Despite his many medical appointments and procedures, Esguerra said, he never took time off from his schoolwork to recover from his surgeries, nor did he ask for extra time to complete the work. He recently graduated with a degree in business from Northeastern University in Boston, and he completed three six-month, full-time internships at major financial services companies while going to school.

"Living with glaucoma, I control what I can," Esguerra said. "I limit my caffeine. I get regular exercise, and as a kid, I didn't hang upside down because that can raise your eye pressure. In my teen years, I really didn't think anything of it."

He also seems to have found a positive side of having to deal with a .

"I think I look at things from a different perspective than most people my age," Esguerra explained. "I think I have a lot more , not just for people with glaucoma but any disease in general. You start to have an understanding of what people go through."

The toughest part of living with glaucoma, he said, is the uncertainty.

"It's chronic, and there's no cure," Esguerra said. "I'm always trying to figure out what lowers my and what activities raise it, but with glaucoma, there's no real end. There's no goal to shoot for."

He also acknowledged that there are definitely days when having gets to him, though he tries to stay positive most of the time.

"I've tried not to let it slow me down," he said. "Looking forward is the key thing. I just graduated [last]year, and now I'm looking at what's next for me."

Explore further: Home measurement of eye pressure in children may improve management of glaucoma

Related Stories

Home measurement of eye pressure in children may improve management of glaucoma

March 7, 2012
Measurement of pressure within the eye, or intraocular pressure (IOP), is known to fluctuate throughout the day, and wide swings in patients with glaucoma are believed to be related to the progression of the disease, which ...

Research identifies risk factors associated with progression of glaucoma

May 9, 2011
Elevated pressure inside the eye, cornea thinning, and visual field loss are all markers that glaucoma may progress, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

Recommended for you

Genome editing with CRISPR-Cas9 prevents angiogenesis of the retina

July 24, 2017
A research team from the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear has successfully prevented mice from developing angiogenesis of the retina—the sensory tissue at the back of the eye—using gene-editing ...

Too little vitamin D may hinder recovery of injured corneas

July 24, 2017
Injury or disease in combination with too little vitamin D can be bad for the window to your eyes.

Combination of type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea indicates eyesight loss within four years

July 4, 2017
Research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered that patients who suffer from both Type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea are at greater risk of developing a condition that leads to blindness within an average ...

Nearly 60% of pinkeye patients receive antibiotic eye drops, but they're seldom necessary

June 28, 2017
A new study suggests that most people with acute conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, are getting the wrong treatment.

Magnetic implants used to treat 'dancing eyes'

June 26, 2017
A research team has successfully used magnets implanted behind a person's eyes to treat nystagmus, a condition characterised by involuntary eye movements.

Drug shows promise against vision-robbing disease in seniors

June 21, 2017
An experimental drug is showing promise against an untreatable eye disease that blinds older adults—and intriguingly, it seems to work in patients who carry a particular gene flaw that fuels the damage to their vision.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.