You have a confirmed diagnosis of a chronic eye condition – glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, severe dry eye, etc. You have started treatment and have tried to be consistent but somehow as the days go by you feel worse. You get irritated anytime you remember your eye care treatment. You just want this condition to go away but they say it is not possible. So what do you do? You need to start thinking beyond cure. You need to focus on healing.

Cure and heal: What do they mean?

To cure is to completely eliminate an eye condition from the body. This focuses on the eye condition. To heal means to restore a person to a state were he/she lives in a healthy, balanced and fulfilling manner with or without the eye condition. This focuses on the whole body and the mind.

Now you know the difference between curing and healing, here are things that you can do on your journey with a chronic eye condition to help you heal when there is no cure.

Let go of your guilt

Sometimes we blame ourselves for our predicament. People say things like, “if only I had done my eye check regularly” or “if only I started the treatment early enough”, or “if only my life choices were healthier”. First of all, understand that there are certain factors that determine whether one will develop an eye condition or not, and some of them like aging and genetics are beyond our control. That stated, even if your actions in the past contributed to your present condition, what happened is gone and you cannot turn back the hand of time. To heal, you need to forgive yourself, make amends (if it is possible) and move on.

Take charge of your eye condition

Take responsibility for your eye care. Cooperate with your eye doctor, therapist and other members of your care team. Play an active role and ensure that you get the best care for your eye health and vision

Adopt lifestyle activities that make the best impact on your condition

These can include exercise, eating healthier meals, relaxation, etc. Determine the ones that make the best impact on your condition and adopt them. They can improve your treatment and leave you feeling good.

Do not let your condition define you.

Your condition is certainly a part of your story but it doesn’t have to define who you are. To avoid your condition defining you, try to live as normal as possible. Work, learn, play and perform other activities as much as your vision permits. But, do not sit all day doing nothing because you have an eye condition. Many people who are blind have gone on to do well in certain careers and activities. So if you have got some vision left, you can do something.

Manage your expectations

Stop focusing on what you can’t have or do with your condition. E.g. getting a cure for an incurable condition or trying to drive yourself with a severally constricted peripheral vision.

These can leave you frustrated and depressed. It can make you fall prey to scammers who promise miracle cures without results.  Also, it you to do can put you and/or others in danger.

For your mental health and wellbeing, it is best your expectations are realistically optimistic. Beyond getting cured what other things are possible for now – stopping the condition from worsening, minimizing symptoms? Beyond driving yourself, how best can you move around?

Surround yourself with the right people for you

There is an anonymous quote that goes like this, “you might feel worthless to one person but you are priceless to another. Don’t ever forget your worth. Spend time with those who value you”. This is spot on. Spending time with the wrong people can make you feel bad about your condition. It will be impossible to heal when you feel this way. You need people thatpositively support your eye health and wellbeing and bring out the best in you.

Learn more from the self management guide below

How not to go blind from chronic eye conditions: A self-management guide for people with chronic eye conditions