Optic Nerves Never Heal
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases where vision is lost due to damage to the optic nerve... there is no cure for glaucoma, and vision loss is irreversible.
Source: Glaucoma Australia https://glaucoma.org.au/what-is-glaucoma
‘You need to see the eye specialist urgently!’
My optometrist studied the result from the latest eye pressure check up. My eye pressure had been high the year before but through a miscommunication I did not get the referral to see a specialist. So here I was a year later with a very concerned optometrist.
I phoned the specialist’s rooms as soon as I got home.
‘Can you come in today?’
My heart skipped a beat – you usually had to book months ahead.
‘You’ve had high eye pressure for over a year. We have to treat it as soon as possible to stop it damaging the optic nerve, if it hasn’t already.’
An hour or so later I had all the tests: field vision – normal, eye pressure – too high, optic nerve scan – right optic nerve damaged.
“We’re classing you as a ‘glaucoma suspect,’ said the specialist. ‘Your sight appears to be fine but there is damage to the optic nerve.’ He showed me the left and right eye scans, and the black areas of damage in the right one.
‘If you get the pressure down, will it heal?’ I asked.
‘No. Optic nerves do not heal. All we can do is prevent any further damage.’
I took medication for ten days – and then stopped. The drops were meant to have no systemic effects, but they did for me. I would be happily cycling or walking or waking up to a beautiful sunny day and then suddenly want to cry. I had never in my life felt that way. There was no way I would keep using those drops.
So I had laser instead. It’s a quick and reasonably painless treatment - like tiny elastic bands flicking in your eye. The recovery was not so comfortable. To add insult to injury, the day after the treatment I had to visit my son’s school teachers to argue his case against theirs. It was as though I was on trial as a parent – and it did not help my case that I looked as though I was on the verge of tears with my watery, bloodshot eye!
The laser worked and my eye pressure reduced… for a few months. And then up it went again and I had a second round of laser. It worked and the eye pressure remained down.
During these few years I praised God every day with this verse: You are the one who heals all my diseases and saves me from all my sins (Ps. 103:3).
Every day I thanked Jesus that in his blood is healing power. I thanked him that He had done so many miracles in the Bible and that He had formed me and designed me perfectly (Ps 139:13) and so it was nothing for him to heal my optic nerve if He wanted to. I asked for prayer at a healing service, at the Healing Rooms and with my prayer partners. I did not speak about it at all – only praising the Lord that my optic nerve was healed.
This may sound like blind faith or great faith but I still had doubts. The Lord can heal anyone at anytime but He is sovereign in his choices. He knows what is best for us and I had to trust that if he wanted to heal me, he would; and if His perfect purpose was not to heal, that was fine too.
Please check your notes
At the December 2019 check up, I was anxious. I prayed through all the tests. My thoughts raced round and round like a cyclist on a circuit. Had the Lord healed my optic nerve? I so hoped He had but it was impossible – optic nerves don’t heal. Was I living in some dream world to think I could be healed? Who was I to expect this – what about all the other people with glaucoma? The Lord could do it… but would he do it for me?
I prayed through all the tests. Finally the eye specialist came in and looked at all the test results.
‘Your eye pressure is still low – that’s great. And your visual field is fine. And your optic nerve is normal.’
‘Normal? But it wasn’t normal when we last did it.’ I felt light in my head, light in my heart. I could hardly believe it.
‘Please check your notes...’ Thoughts raced through my mind: Should I tell him I’ve been praying. I don’t have to. But how can I ask the Lord to heal me and then not acknowledge Him? I ploughed on… ‘because I’ve been asking God to heal my optic nerve and I need to make sure this is correct.’
Damaged optic nerve - now normal
He searched through the notes and pulled up the original scan. There was the damage – the big black area around the optic nerve - and here were the latest tests with all green scores and no black parts – a completely normal optic nerve!
‘Do you think we can call this a little miracle?’ I wanted to jump up and scream out ‘Praise the Lord!’ but I kept my voice casual, not wanting to scare him or give him any reason to think I was a loop-head!
‘Yes, I think we can say that,’ he said in a slightly stunned tone. He picked up his pen. ‘I’m recording this in the notes: ‘Damaged optic nerve, now normal.’
When Jesus heals miraculously, it always boosts our faith – that He is real and ‘able to do exceedingly more than all we ask or imagine' (Eph. 3:20)
Looking back I can see that the Lord knew I would need an extra dose of faith to ‘keep it together’. For most of that time, since November 2019, I only knew what would be happening in the next week or two, no further. Where we would live, when we might move overseas, what my son would be doing now that he had finished school… all were unknown despite looming deadlines to make decisions. It took all my energy (and the grace of God) to keep my eyes fixed only on the Lord and not the circumstances.
‘He will keep him in perfect peace, him whose eyes are fixed on Him’ (Isa. 26:3)
This was my mantra. It has held me through the past 18 months of multiple uncertainties - and I have seen God work everything out for good. Whenever I start to worry or doubt I tell myself: Jesus healed your optic nerve; He can do anything!