"Every day is a different day," said Gillette-Simms about her life with primary open-angle glaucoma. "It could be clear today. The following day it could be cloudy."
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. In its severe stage, it elevates eye pressure and causes changes in the optic nerve. Over the course of the disease, it has robbed Gillette-Simmons of her central and peripheral vision in each of her eyes.
The gradual blindness is "what makes this [disease] so challenging," said Diane Whitaker, MD, an optometrist and vision rehabilitation specialist at Duke.
When looking for ways to help her patients live with low vision, Whitaker said, "We've got to identify where the deficits are and then maximize the part of the vision that works the best."