Blinded by glaucoma

Blinded by glaucoma

Photo of a smiling Ellen

Robbed of sight by the silent thief - Glaucoma

When words started disappearing off the paper in front of her eyes, Ellen Bokwana, a mother of three from Potchefstroom, took herself off for an eye test.

She had been involved in a car accident in 2001, and thought that her sight was deteriorating because of the accident. But it wasn’t long before she was given the devastating news that she had glaucoma – and that the disease was so far gone that she would lose her sight completely.

Like Ellen, most people only realise they have glaucoma when they are already losing their sight – and it’s too late to arrest the disease.

Despite feeling like her world had collapsed around her, Ellen bravely continued going to work at the Department of Defence. But instead of doing administrative work, she was placed in a job where she handed out forms and advice.

Her luck changed when a blind colleague was transferred from Pretoria to Potchefstroom. A former student of Optima, he told Ellen about Optima’s training and the possibilities it would create for her.

Ellen is now training in computer literacy and is looking forward to getting a promotion and a more challenging position when she returns to work with her new skills and knowledge.

There are many things in life that Ellen sorely misses now that she is blind – but there are many other activities that she is looking forward to unlocking: like reading books once she has mastered the computer, and learning to cook without sight.

Ellen used to be a wonderful cook before she lost her vision and we look forward to the day she has mastered her skills again – and invites us over for a home-cooked meal!


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