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Vena McGrath

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Member Since: Feb, 2004

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Glaucoma Update July 2011
by Vena McGrath   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, July 15, 2011
Posted: Friday, July 15, 2011

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A short update on my treatment and progress to date.

 It's been a whle since I posted anything about Glaucoma so thought I should update the information for anyone interested.
I am continuing my 3 monthly clinic visits at Westmead Hospital even though it's a 2.5 hour drive each way for me to go there.  I did some research but there is no Glaucoma Clinic at Nowra Base Hospital and the closest would be Wollongong.  I figure if I'm going to drive to Wollongong I might as well go to Sydney because then I can spend a few days with my daughter as I miss her heaps.
My last clinic visit was 17 June 2011 and I found out that the drops I had been trialling for about 6 months had been discontinued and I had to start on another type.  This posed the usual obstacles with the Pharmacy and the frustrations caused by those people are too maddening to even write about.  Sufficient to say that I could only obtain enough of the new drops for one month when I needed 3 months supply because of paperwork that the doctors should have organised.  I have since received another month's supply in the post but that won't see me through to the next clinic date so I will have to work out what I can do about that little problem, which for me is a major problem because I must use the drops every day.
The new drops are Travatan PQ and why they replace just plain old Travatan I'm not sure.  Neither drops are approved for use in Australia so the doctors have to apply for approval from the Australian Government for me to have them on the PBC (they only cost me $5.60 a month instead of probably over $100 a month).  The other drops I use, Timpotol Preservative Free, have finally been approved and I think that I will be able to get them from a local chemist for $5.60 in the future.  It's all such a nuisance!
My eyes appear not to have deteriorated much at all over the last year or so but I guess the next field test will show the real story.  I don't notice anything has changed and in fact since I gave up work my eyes are a lot less trouble to me.  I find at night once I use both the drops my eyes become sore and I therefore don't use the drops until I'm ready to say nite nite.  As I'm living in a lovely area with fresh air and lots of it, no stress really, then my health should be better than it was in Sydney.  I will ask next clinic visit if I can make my appointments less frequent because of the fact that I live a distance away from the hospital.  I'm not sure if I will be able to do that because it's all a game of keeping regular checks on what's happening or not happening and they seem hell bent on it being every 3 months.
All in all, I am really very fortunate that the nerve damage has not affected my vision too badly so far.  Sure there are things that I've learned to live with and annoyances now and then that make me realise all is not well, but on the whole it's not as bad as many people with this disease suffer.  I can still drive without any worries except that I steer clear of driving at night because of my reduced night vision which is real and isn't going to change now or ever.  
Until next time, ;please make sure that you have your eyes checked every couple of years for glaucoma.  Once you find out you have it it's too late and the vision lost you can never regain.  A simple pressure test by an optician will alert him/her that there may be a problem and you can then go to a specialist and have a field test done just to be sure.
I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone in Sydney to go either to Sydney Eye Hospital or Westmead Eye Hospital as an outpatient in their clinics.  All you need is a referral from a GP.  There is no cost for any treatment or tests at the hospitals but you will pay dearly at an eye specialist.  I paid dearly for years until in total frustration I requested a referral to Sydney Eye Hospital.  They solved all my problems that the eye specialist I was visiting refused to try to solve.  It seemed all he wanted was the money I paid everytime I walked into his rooms, and it was always over $100 and much more for field tests and other treatment.  The relief from pain I have had in the years of being an outpatient makes sitting around waiting in a clinic to have tests and see a specialist  more worthwhile than I can every describe.
Vena McGrath



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