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We talked to Amanda Eddy before our Glaucoma 360 Annual Gala, where Amanda participated in the evening program by telling her personal glaucoma story and introducing the live auction. Hear Amanda's story in her own words:
Amanda Eddy: Many people think it's a disease that just affects elderly people, especially with being born with it and living with it my whole life, people are like, "You have glaucoma?"
I was born with glaucoma. My father actually had glaucoma and went blind when he was young, so it's been a really big part of my life in one way or another. When I was diagnosed, we were living in the Middle East at the time, and my family immediately flew to Washington, DC, and I had two surgeries under the care of Dr. Marshall Parks, and it was kind of that day on, I started a regimen of twice daily eye drops, visits to my doctor every few months, and I've just been that way ever since, and I've had incredible care. I'm very, very good about putting my eye drops in, and it's just a miracle it's been under control, and I haven't lost any vision.
Two years ago, everything was stable, and all of a sudden, it wasn't, and I had to go into, pretty much really quickly, two surgeries back to back. If I wasn't going diligently to my doctor's, I wouldn't have known that, and who knows what would have happened.
It was tough, because just coming back from that, and I'm a jeweler, so I need my sight to do the very intricate work that we do, and I couldn't work or do hardly anything for a while just because you're coming back from not being able to see or wearing an eye patch for several months, and then just slowly getting better and better, but they worked. Pressure stabilized again, and I think at one point I was taking like six or seven medications morning and night, so it was a lot, and they're not cheap, so it costs a lot, too. But after the surgeries, it's like two in the morning and two at night, which is really awesome.
Everything's been stable. I see my doctor every few months. It's crazy, because you can't feel it. you can't tell if your pressure's getting high or low. It's just there, and so you don't know until you go in for that pressure check. I don't know if anybody else has ever told you, but it's so scary. Even to this day, I've been doing this 36 years, and every pressure check, I just freeze up. I'm like oh, please don't be high, just because that means horrible things. That's kind of my journey with it now, but I feel incredibly lucky and blessed that I still have my sight, and hopefully I will for a long time.
I genuinely think that a cure will be found in my lifetime, and the funding and just all the work that Glaucoma Research Foundation is doing towards that - they're making it happen. Grants and events like Glaucoma 360 and all the learning and everything that's going on is just propelling that cure, which we'll get to. It's incredibly special that that's the mission.
I've been using the same medications for 36 years. One eye drop, I have been using my entire life. It just went generic, by the way, which is wonderful. It works. It works great, but what happens next time I have a pressure surge? I've already had two trabs. You can only do it so many times, and I'm so glad that I was able to keep my vision, but I don't know what that next surgery would mean. A cure would mean everything.
One day, there will be a cure. It means that maybe I'll be able to see for the rest of my life, and it's just an amazing thing.
I have glaucoma. With your help, a cure is in sight. Together, we can create a future without glaucoma.
Last reviewed on March 12, 2018