Rob Leonhard believes in doing what you CAN do.
Rob works as a consulting civil engineer and is helping to build a branch of a regional engineering firm in Texas. In December of 2007, at the age 45, Rob was diagnosed with glaucoma after the pressure increased in his right eye. After a series of trials with medications, he was able to control his ocular pressure with drops and used only one medication for the first few years. Eventually, he would require an SLT procedure, MIGS and finally GATT and a XEN 45 Gel Stent in 2018. There was a time that he took up to 15 eye drops daily. Today, he works full time, enjoys outdoor activities, and manages his glaucoma with just 5 drops per day.
Rob has been careful to listen to his doctor’s orders and understands that doing so is a factor in a procedure’s success or failure. After one procedure, he moved around the house too much and suffered a hemorrhage in the front chamber of his eye between the iris and the cornea.
After that incident, he made sure to follow orders. The ophthalmologists are the professionals who know what will help ensure a positive result. If they instruct him to sit upright and rest after a procedure, he is careful to do just that. He has found creative ways to pass the time in such cases and has even had fun with those instructions. (See pirate photo!)
Rob spends time every evening sitting outdoors which allows him to rest his eyes. He knows this is an important thing to do each day and that eye rest, coupled with good sleep, will help to refresh his eyes every day. The daily regimen around things that affect your vision is very important – from taking medications properly and staying active to a healthy diet and plenty of rest – everything has an impact. After the last major procedure in 2019, his pressures have stayed between 11-17 for 4 1/2 years.
While he does not participate in support groups, as an engineer, he finds comfort in learning as much as he can about glaucoma. Rob credits websites such as those for the Cure Glaucoma Foundation and the National Glaucoma Research Foundation for providing cutting-edge research information. Keeping a positive attitude is also high on his priority list.
Rob’s advice for anyone in a similar situation is DON’T DWELL ON WHAT YOU CAN’T DO; ENJOY WHAT YOU CAN! Despite two traditional surgeries, a cataract removal and three MIGS procedures, he focuses on doing the things he can do and feeling gratitude for the ability to do them. Rob has had to give up activities like baseball and coaching baseball, but he has become an avid hiker and mountain biker. Although he has lost one-half of the central vision in his right eye, he can drive and work on a computer. He focuses on what he can do instead of things he has been forced to give up.