Art Takahara is a former member of the Glaucoma Research Foundation Board of Directors. As a glaucoma patient with low vision himself, he has contributed as a volunteer, a fundraiser, and a donor to GRF.
Art Takahara: It’s really kind of a very interesting story. It was probably about 15 years ago or so, one day I decided to go to the optometrist in Montgomery Ward, of all places, on a noon time and I decided I would just go down there and get a quick eye check. And I was introduced to a gal who was going to do my testing and she says, “oh, I just got out of optometry school,” and I thought “oh, this is great, I’m getting somebody just new without any experience.” But halfway through the examination she said to me, “You have a real problem. I think you either have glaucoma or some other disease, and I think you ought to go see a specialist.” And that’s when I found out that glaucoma is really a very silent disease, and a disease that many people don’t know they have.
My name is Art Takahara, and I’ve been very active in community interests, where I was elected to the City Council and became mayor of Mountain View. I have been involved in many, many nonprofit organizations because I have always had an interest in serving the public and the community. I’ve been active with the Glaucoma Research Foundation for about four years now. This is the first organization that I’ve been involved in that I had a challenge personally with [this disease].
My wife or other people will say “you’ve got to cut out some of these activities, you’ve got too many things going at one time.” But that’s been the kind of life that I’ve had for myself all these years, so I just keep going. It hasn’t really been a hindrance and I’m one to try to look at things positively in the world, so I tell myself I’m not going to let glaucoma get in my way, or my low vision get in the way. And I will do things, use visual aids, whatever I need to do to continue to try to be as normal as possible. Regardless if you have low vision, you can get around and do everything you were doing before. Don’t think you have to slow down or do less.
My message to those who have family members or friends who have learned that they have glaucoma is for them to try to understand for themselves what the disease is all about. And then I think the main thing is to try to encourage the person who has glaucoma that it is a disease that can be maintained so that it won’t get worse. And that with the research like the Glaucoma Research Foundation is doing, there is hope out there for a cure.
First posted on December 23, 2011