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When Roberta Kameda took her daughter Samantha to a routine eye exam, an optometrist noticed she had high pressure in one of her eyes. Samantha was only in the 8th grade.
When she was diagnosed with glaucoma, it was a shocking blow to her family. “It was extremely upsetting,” recalls, Roberta. “I didn't know what to expect or what the prognosis would be for the long-term. I didn't really know much about glaucoma at all.”
Like any mother faced with this news, Roberta had many questions and concerns about her young daughter’s future: “Would she go blind? Would she finish school? Would she go to college, have a career? It was a dark time,” Roberta says. It was during this confusing period that Roberta and her daughter found care, support and reassurance from Dr. Andrew Iwach and Glaucoma Research Foundation.
“Dr. Iwach was great with Samantha,” says Roberta. “And Glaucoma Research Foundation is very good at educating anxious people like me who are new to dealing with a diagnosis.”
Samantha’s treatment began with eye drops and then she underwent surgery. In a follow-up procedure, Samantha had a shunt inserted in her eye. This and continued eye drops have stabilized her glaucoma.
Although Samantha has lost some peripheral vision, she’s doing fine. And so far, to her mother’s delight, she’s accomplished everything she’s set out to do. Samantha got her driver’s license, finished high school, and graduated with honors from Boston University with a bachelor’s in psychology and sociology. Right now, she’s completing two university internships in Australia. After that, she plans to attend graduate school to continue her studies in psychology.
“Today, Samantha is living a normal life and can do anything she wants to do,” Roberta says. “She’s been very resilient and has dealt with this remarkably well.”
Roberta, general counsel at a San Francisco investment firm, feels fortunate to live close enough to Foundation headquarters to regularly attend lectures and meetings so she can stay up to date on the latest research. Because of her experience, she’s inspired to share what she’s learned with other families.
“It’s not just older people who deal with glaucoma,” Roberta says. “Many people don't realize younger people can be affected, too. Glaucoma Research Foundation has been a great catalyst in the field by funding research at multiple hospitals and centers and encouraging collaborations across medical fields.”
Roberta has been a loyal Glaucoma Research Foundation donor since 2008, but recently she decided to do more. With a gift to The Cure is in Sight Campaign, she hopes to make a bigger impact.
"It is very tantalizing to be so close to a cure,” she says. “And very exciting too. Maybe my contributions can have an impact on furthering Glaucoma Research Foundation’s goals, maybe even a cure for glaucoma in my daughter’s lifetime. That would be wonderful.”
To host your own online fundraiser, please visit www.glaucoma.org/campaign or contact us at (415) 986-3162.
Last reviewed on January 06, 2021