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Juanita Herrera has been blind due to complications of congenital glaucoma since she was three years old. She has a guide dog (named Anise) from Guide Dogs for the Blind to help her get around, and her hope and optimism are uplifting.
We interviewed Juanita in February 2017 during our Glaucoma 360 event in San Francisco.
Juanita Herrera: I was born with congenital glaucoma. From what my mom told me, I had eight surgeries from the time I was born until I was three years old. Then, at three, I lost most of the vision left in the one eye that I could see from. So I pretty much grew up blind from that point on. Losing your sight isn’t the end of the world. I mean, it’s difficult, but one can always survive, and it’s not like you’re going to die because you lost your sight.
I got my guide dog six years ago from Guide Dogs for the Blind, and we've been a team ever since. She was intended to graduate a month after she did from guide dog training school. Because they didn’t have any other dog that matched the type of dog that I needed, she got pulled from — I guess I like to call it — doggie college, and got to skip two grades and got to leave school early, because I needed her and she was capable. Yeah.
GRF: It sounds like you were meant for each other.
Juanita: Yes. [laughs]
GRF: She graduated early.
Juanita: Yes. I mean, I know there’s a lot of research being done for glaucoma. Even though I live a normal life, I like to say, I really hope that someday there’s a way to cure people who are in the process of losing their vision due to glaucoma or even a way to restore vision for those of us who have already lost our sight.
I don’t think I’ve lived a life that I regret, but I know that things could be a lot easier. It could be a lot easier for me to do things if I had not lost my sight to glaucoma. It’s because of donors that it’s possible for the research to continue. Maybe there’s not a cure yet, but it takes time and donations from people to be able to get to a cure.
With your help, the cure is in sight.
Last reviewed on June 23, 2017