Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:17 PM EDT
It's a life-changing diagnosis, glaucoma...but for one man here in the mountains, it motivated him to complete undergraduate and graduate school and establish a career.
As News 13's Jay Siltzer shows us in today's Health Alert, blindness isn't stopping Kevin Tillery from seeing his way to the top.
28-year-old Kevin Tillery works in human resources despite blindness in his left eye and low vision in his right eye.
Kevin, "it's still like working through a drinking straw very blurred."
What's clear is that every day Kevin coordinates management labor for more than 100 employees at Industries for the Blind in Asheville despite his diagnosis 10 years ago with a serious eye disease.
"At the onset of my glaucoma I experienced a lot of pain in my eye I guess due to the increased pressure in the eye...blurred vision"
Dr. Sean Skierczynski, optometrist, "when you have higher than normal eye pressure you get damage to the optic nerve and it's actually the optic nerve is the connection between the eye and the brain that carries back visual information that gets damaged... And when that gets damaged the person tends to lose vision."
But Kevin hasn't lost hope and continues building his career with the help of adaptive technologies.
"It increases magnification of documents... Changes colors depending whether I'm looking at a document that's in black and white."
Doctors say what must be underscored is the importance of annual eye exams to detect glaucoma and other eye diseases, while treating them early to prevent blindness.
Doctors say glaucoma affects up to one in five people in America.
It is more common in African-Americans and people who have a family history of the disease.