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Reed Haney had no idea something was wrong with his newborn son in 1992. By the time doctors detected the congenital glaucoma, Paul was 3, and his eyes already showed signs of significant damage.
Throughout Paul’s childhood, he endured what seemed like countless doctor’s appointments, glaucoma-related tests and eye surgeries. At the same time, attempts were being made by Paul’s family, particularly his late grandmother, to obtain vision services for Paul from local school districts due to his significant vision impairment from glaucoma. Paul relied upon skills he learned from Teachers of the Visually Impaired to help him cope with his vision loss and succeed both in and outside the classroom. One of these teachers, Mickey, had such a profound impact on Paul, it inspired him to want to become a Teacher of the Visually Impaired.
Today, Paul is 26. He had another major eye surgery within the past couple of years, but right now, his vision is stable. Reed has been by his son’s side every step of the way, as a father and an advocate. Based on Paul’s and his family’s experience with glaucoma, Reed feels it’s important to spread the word about early vision testing for children and supporting Glaucoma Research Foundation.
“It’s important to me to inform people, especially parents,” says Reed. “If Paul’s condition had been caught earlier, immediate surgery could have likely saved most of his vision. Get your child’s eye exam as early as possible, in the first 6 months. You can literally save your child’s eyesight.”
Paul has relatively good acuity now in his left eye but very limited peripheral vision due to glaucoma. Over the years he’s learned to compensate for his visual impairment, but glaucoma is a constant battle to preserve his remaining vision. Paul visits his ophthalmologist every three months and uses multiple drops daily. Still, he never lets his impairment stop him from achieving his goals in life.
Born in Colorado, Paul completed high school with honors in Florida and received an academic scholarship from Florida State University (FSU). Paul obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from FSU in December 2015 and just completed his Master’s Degree in Education from FSU in December 2018. Needless to say, his father is incredibly proud.
“I’ve been inspired by Paul’s remarkable courage and perseverance to not let his glaucoma keep him from leading a full life,” says Reed. For example, Reed adds, Paul was determined to participate in marching band in high school and college, despite the complex physical movements required to march while also playing the largest musical instrument in the band, the sousaphone!
As Paul was about to finish graduate school, Reed felt like he wanted to mark his son’s impressive educational achievements. It only seemed natural to turn to Glaucoma Research Foundation. To honor his son, Reed is leaving a generous gift to the foundation in his will.
“I came to a point where I wanted to do even more for Glaucoma Research Foundation,” says Reed, a retired public service employee. “I wanted to do something more significant.” Setting up a bequest was easy, he says. “I simply spoke to my estate attorney, and included the Glaucoma Research Foundation” in my will.
Reed is particularly interested in Glaucoma Research Foundation’s new Catalyst for a Cure team, which will focus on developing treatments that could restore vision for people like Paul. But he hopes his planned gift will help create a future where parents don’t ever have to worry about this disease.
“Glaucoma Research Foundation does a fantastic job educating people about glaucoma, but you can always do more,” says Reed. “Knowing what we’ve been through, if I can help save the vision of one child, that would be tremendous.”
Having recently graduated from FSU with a Master’s Degree in Education, Paul is now working as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialist in the Portland, Oregon area. Paul is grateful to be able to positively impact the lives of students with visual impairments, just as so many people have positively influenced him throughout his life.
Glaucoma Research Foundation is incredibly grateful for Reed’s meaningful and most thoughtful gift in honor of Paul to ensure future resources to advance our research programs.
Including us in your will or trust is a simple way to provide future support of our innovative research and education programs. To learn more about how to make a meaningful gift, please visit www.glaucoma.org/legacy or contact Nancy Graydon at (415) 986-3162 ext. 231.
Last reviewed on June 21, 2019