I am repeating this article because its subject is so important. Please read the last sentence. Glaucoma is one of the oldest diseases recorded in ancient history. Hippocrates, who lived between 460 BC and 370 BC, spoke of it. Through the ages, including the present, there has never been a cure. The end of it is always blindness.
The groups of people who are most vulnerable to it include the elderly, those who are diabetic and people of African or Hispanic descent. Two of these include me. I’m 89 years old and a type one diabetic. I have glaucoma in both eyes.
The symptoms of Glaucoma include a limited peripheral sight and limited vision of people, objects and scenes. Of course, the ability to read is paramount. So the past ten years I have had all of these symptoms. National statistics indicate there are between four to five million people in the U.S. with Glaucoma.
The most common testing for it is the pressure in the eyes. Anything above twenty demands serious consideration. The above mentioned symptoms are obvious.
Among the millions of Americans and multi worldwide millions one of the best known victims is Ray Charles, the African American musician. While the elderly are most prone, Glaucoma can afflict the very young. Ray Charles became totally blind as the result of Glaucoma when he was seven (7) years old.
The basic remedies for Glaucoma are twofold: medication and surgery. Both of these remedies are relatively new. As the pressure on the eyes begins to increase so do the symptoms.
At a routine visit to my Ophthalmologist about six years ago I was informed the pressure in my right eye was increasing. It had reached the high 20’s. He recommended that I have surgery. That was three years ago. Today I can see objects and people with my right eye but I cannot read with it unless the print is very large.
Last September again in a routine visit I was told the pressure in my left eye was 15 or 16. Two weeks later another test was taken. The pressure was up to 28. The result of the test by my Ophthalmologist was that I have surgery. He informed me the only alternative was blindness. I had noticed I was having trouble reading with my left eye.
The date was set for September 30th, three days after my 88th birthday. The surgery lasted for three hours. At this time I do not know the ultimate results of the surgery. I was told the results might take from two to four months. With up to one year for the final results. Obviously, this is affecting my life style because I’m a voracious reader and writer. Fortunately, I was able to present the material for my 14th book to the printer the day before my surgery.
At my most recent visit to my Ophthalmologist he revealed the pressure in my left eye has gone down to 6. The determining factor of the surgery will be affected by my age.
A further example of a prominent individual suffering from Glaucoma is the Apostle Paul. Most Bible scholars agree that he was a victim of this eye disease. Evidence of this is from the Bible. In the book of Acts chapter 23:1-5 Paul is accosted by the High Priest and slapped across the face. In return he is chastised. His defense reveals his bad eye sight. He did not recognize the man as being the High Priest.
In 2 Corinthians Paul testifies he was given a “thorn in the flesh.” Most Bible scholars believe that the thorn in the flesh was that he was a victim of Glaucoma.
In Galatians 4 Paul says, “YOU WOULD PLUCK OUT YOUR OWN EYES AND GIVE THEM TO ME.” In Galatians 6:11 he refers to his epistle as being written by himself and that it was written with big letters. This is a genuine sign of Glaucoma.
In making any medical considerations we should begin with Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. He lived on the island of Kos which is a Greek island. His views are considerable. Among them the Hippocratic Oath. The most important phrase in it is “Thou shalt do no harm.”
In my opinion I believe his greatest contribution was in his bringing medicine out of the darkness of ignorance and witchcraft. He was the first to inform humanity that diseases were not caused by the whim of the gods and chance. He was also the first one to discover the causes of pneumonia and childhood epilepsy. He also established medicine as a respectable profession.
In eye disease there are three basic causes of blindness. They are Glaucoma, Cataracts and Macular Degeneration.
The conditions of Glaucoma referred to in the writings of Hippocrates are described as a dark green, dark blue or dark gray that clouded the vision. It is also described in several Arabian writings of antiquity.
All three of the basic eye diseases are dealt with in two ways. First, is by medication and second by surgery. While physical conditions like heart attacks, strokes and cancer are also dealt with in the same way of medicine and surgery. However, the basic difference between them is that those physical conditions are done to prevent death and Glaucoma is operated on to prevent blindness.
Through the centuries there have been many individuals that contributed in understanding eye disease. The fund of knowledge has enabled many who have been stricken with Glaucoma, Cataracts, or Macular Degeneration with some measure of sight.
It is reported by medical statistics that with the four to five million people in the U.S. suffering from Glaucoma only 120,000 have become blind. The rational for this statistic is based on the age of the patient and the skill of the surgeon.
My current problem is my age, but the skill of my surgeon is outstanding. He has informed me that he and I will have the level of my sight within three to four months.
One of the tragic comments is that over half of those who have Glaucoma are unaware of it. IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE ABOVE SYMPTOMS SEE AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST IMMEDIATELY.
Amen. Selah. So be it.