I was born with congenital glaucoma.
Congenital glaucoma otherwise known as childhood glaucoma, infantile glaucoma or pediatric glaucoma is found to occur in babies and small children ( < 3 years of age). It is a rare condition but could result in a permanent loss of vision.
Ever since I can remember, I have been treated special. As a child, I never could understand why my family, teachers, and everyone who knew about my limitations were very protective over me…..sometimes a little overprotective.
While in kindergarten, I had surgery on both eyes. The surgery was to reduce the pressure buildup and prevent me from going completely blind at an early age. It was successful 🤲. According to my mother, I had to use eye drops daily to prevent the pressure in my eyes from building back up. I don’t remember this, though.
I was teased by other children because I couldn’t play outside with them. Therefore, my childhood was spent mostly indoors playing with my toys, reading books, or watching TV.
My teen years weren’t much different. By then, I had adapted to my limitations. I would feel my way around in places where the lighting was dim, often bumping into things or falling.
At 16 years old, I was declared by the United States government as being “legally blind”. My last three summers of high school were spent at a vocational rehabilitation center for the blind and visually impaired (VRCB).
At VRCB, I learned the necessary skills for living an independent life. I learned how to cook, clean, sew, and other activities. I even learned how to read and write basic braille!
I graduated from high school in June 1994 and enrolled in the local community college that fall.
Adult life was very different, especially after becoming a mom. Due to my disabilities, I was closely monitored during my pregnancy and throughout my daughter’s childhood. They wanted to see how well I was able to nurture and care for her,
I did well.
I continued to live my life as normal as possible, doing most things independently.
In 2016, I found out that my right eye has lost most of its vision and that my left eye needed to be monitored regularly because the pressure stayed elevated. My glaucoma specialist prescribed an eye drop that I need to instill twice daily to minimize it.
Unfortunately, there is no hope for my right eye 🥺.
The years of not using drops and straining my eyes caused the pressure to build up to the point that my retina has detached from the cornea.
I’ve experienced a lot over the years. Living with congenital glaucoma may not be the life I desire, but at least I am blessed to have come this far in life independently. I raised a daughter, I married, and I run a home business.