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Transcript: "Coping with Glaucoma"

Ben: The best things in life? One of them is my work. I've always gotten a lot of satisfaction from that. And my family -- they're the most important thing. And baseball -- oh, yes, baseball! The game has always been a big thing with me, especially now since my boy has begun to play. Work, family, baseball -- those are the best things in my life. So the idea that I might never have been able to see any of them again, I don't know how I could have coped with that, and yet it's something that almost happened.

Announcer: It almost did happen to Ben Ewing, because not long ago, and without knowing it, Ben was going blind.

Ben: I didn't get my eyes checked for any particular reason, I just thought at my age it wouldn't be a bad idea, so there was no way I was prepared for what the doctor told me.

Doctor: I told Ben he had glaucoma. I told him we could treat it. But, most of all, I told him how fortunate he was that he had come to see me when he did, because left untreated, his glaucoma might well have cost him his eyesight. In its early stages, glaucoma usually has no noticeable symptoms -- no blurring or loss of vision, no pain or swelling. In fact, it may go completely undetected until patients gradually begin to lose their peripheral, or side, vision, and eventually, all their vision. And while the damage can be halted, it cannot be reversed -- the vision that's lost is lost forever.

Announcer: The only effective way to prevent all this is through a comprehensive eye examination performed by a qualified eye care professional, such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist. The exam may include a painless test that measures pressure within the eye, and sometimes another that checks the patient's field of vision, but always the most reliable way to detect glaucoma is with a painless and easy test in which the doctor, using drops to dilate or enlarge the pupil, examines the optic nerve for early signs of glaucoma, signs that will occur long before any loss of vision. A comprehensive eye exam through dilated pupils at least once every two years for at-risk individuals -- that's the recommendation of eye care professionals, and that's the way to stop glaucoma before it stops you. Like Ben Ewing did.

Ben: It's hard to believe, but it's true -- not long ago I was just moments from darkness, the moments I took to have my eyes checked. But it's because of those moments that I can look forward to years of seeing the things I want to see, doing the things I want to do, being what I want to be. At home, at work, on the ball field. Years of enjoying all those things that, to me, are the best things in life.

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