A focus on the future: Beryl’s story
Three generations of Beryl Logie’s family have been affected by eye disease. She hopes our research will create a brighter future for younger people.
Beryl Logie first understood the value of eye research when her mother lost her eyesight to glaucoma in her 90s – but it really hit home when Beryl herself, and then her daughter Wendy were also diagnosed with eye disease.
“We decided that the Centre for Eye Research Australia was so important that we wanted to become donors,” says Beryl, who has lived with age-related macular degeneration for more than a decade. Beryl and her husband Bill have now donated to CERA for more than 15 years.
More recently, Beryl and Bill’s daughter Wendy was treated to prevent glaucoma. Even though glaucoma is hereditary, this came as a shock, says Beryl.
“It’s very encouraging to know CERA is investigating glaucoma and macular degeneration,” says Beryl. “Down the track, even if it doesn’t help me, it’s going to help the next lot of people.”
Wendy was 54 when a routine eye check found that the pressure in her eyes was increasing, bringing with it a high risk of glaucoma because of the family history.
In the family
Wendy has vivid childhood memories of her grandmother losing her sight and the impact it had on her life.
She could no longer garden or sew, and her mobility and safety were hugely compromised as her sight declined.
“She’d fall because she couldn’t see,” remembers Wendy. “And by the time she was diagnosed, it was too late to do anything.’’
For Wendy, the diagnosis of her own risk of developing glaucoma came as a surprise. “I wanted to do everything I could to prevent this.”
She underwent successful laser treatment to create a small hole in each eye to relieve the pressure and prevent potential damage to the optic nerve.
Wendy now has strict biannual checks and considers herself fortunate, and a bit lucky.
“It had been six years since my last check up, and time had got away from me,” says Wendy. “If I had left it much longer, who knows what would have happened?”
Regular eye checks
Wendy’s own family is now diligent about regular eye checks.
“We are very aware of eye issues because of what’s happened to my grandmother and my mother, and that I was heading that way, as well,” says Wendy.
“If there’s any message, it’s about making sure people get checked, particularly if there’s a family history.
“Get onto any problems early and hopefully save a lot of grief at the other end of life.”
Beryl has lived with AMD for more than a decade. It affects her left eye only.
“At the beginning I lost colour definition in that eye,” she says. “Then it was like looking through murky water, intermittently, until central vision was gone.”
Beryl is now being monitored under the care of ophthalmologist Professor Robyn Guymer, who is also a Deputy Director at CERA.
“She’s very caring, very friendly and someone you have confidence in,” says Beryl. “I am so fortunate to have her looking after me.” Beryl still has good vision, and she can read and drive, but feels that her depth perception is weak.
“I don’t have the confidence to know how far down something is.
“I remember Mum putting her foot out to ‘feel’ her way. It’s what I do, getting off the train or changing surfaces, because you don’t trust your eyes to gauge it.”
Beryl is an active member of a local osteoporosis support group and a strong advocate of regular eye checks for the elderly.
“So many falls and fractures are caused by poor vision,” she says. “It’s important people make sure their vision is as good as it can possibly be.”