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SIMI VALLEY : Official Has Surgery to Correct Glaucoma

Ventura County Supervisor Vicky Howard said Monday that she recently underwent eye surgery after learning that she had both acute and chronic glaucoma.

In an interview with reporters in her Simi Valley office, Howard said she underwent laser surgery in November and December to correct her eye condition.

She said the surgeries went well and that doctors believe she is out of danger of losing her eyesight. She said she is still taking eye medication and, except for minor vision loss in her left eye, her eyesight has remained the same.

“I was fortunate,” Howard said, urging people to have their eyes checked regularly.

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She said she learned of her eye condition after going to the optometrist to get a new pair of glasses. It had been four years since she last had her eyes checked.

Howard said she was stunned to learn of her eye condition because there had been no symptoms or pain associated with it and no history of it in her family.

“I was just shocked,” she said. “If I had waited another year, I probably would have lost my vision.”

Howard, who said she has suffered from bad eyesight since she was a child, said she was diagnosed with both chronic and acute glaucoma.

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Chronic glaucoma is caused when fluids in the eye back up, putting increased pressure on the optic nerve that results in tunnel vision. Acute glaucoma results when the drainage canal between the iris and cornea malfunctions and, instead of opening and closing, remains closed. The condition can cause blindness.

Howard said lasers were used to burn holes in her eyes to allow fluids to drain normally.

“It was a real trauma,” Howard said of her experience.


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