For years, Andre wore glasses to help with his nearsightedness, but in his early 30s, he began to notice his vision getting slightly worse. As an active and inquisitive person, he wanted know more about what was causing the change and his options for preserving his vison, so he brought it to the attention of his optometrist who recommended that he visit an ophthalmologist for further examination.

During his first appointment with an ophthalmologist, Andre was diagnosed with keratoconus in his left eye, a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape causing distorted vision. Not only had Andre never heard of the disease, but he certainly never would have noticed the shape of his cornea physically changing. He was immensely grateful that his optometrist had referred him.

As someone who prides himself on thoroughly researching and understanding all aspects of his life, Andre immediately began researching keratoconus and the treatment options available. However, because his keratoconus was only a mild case in one eye at the time, he and his doctor decided not to pursue any treatments. Unfortunately, over the next 5 years, his eyesight continued to worsen.

Eventually Andre’s declining vision began to impact his daily life. Driving, particularly at night, became more challenging when the glare of headlights made it hard for him to see the road. As an active and athletic person, he was no longer able to play golf and basketball at the same level he had previously. Most importantly, his vision began to impact his work in the corporate world. Spending lots of time looking at the computer and on video conferences but unable to see clearly, Andre felt that his blurry vision was subconsciously distracting him from his job, so he began looking for a solution to his vision challenges.

In 2014, he visited a new ophthalmology practice where the doctor said he may require a corneal transplant, but referred him to another corneal specialist for a second opinion. After further inspection and more tests, the second ophthalmologist told him that his keratoconus had not progressed enough to require a corneal transplant, but recommended that he try wearing hard contact lenses to help stabilize his vision. Unfortunately, after giving them a try, Andre found the contacts uncomfortable and chose to go back to wearing glasses and managing the daily challenges.

New State, Same Challenge

About two years later, a job opportunity in the Tampa area led Andre and his family to relocate from Tennessee to Florida where he was faced with another challenge— passing the vision test to get his new license. At that point, he knew he needed to  seriously consider his treatment options, so he began looking for a new doctor in the area. One day Andre heard about corneal cross-linking and again began doing extensive research. It was then that he learned about Dr. Craig Berger, a corneal specialist at Bay Area Eye Institute in Tampa.

By the time Andre visited Dr. Berger, not only had the keratoconus in his left eye progressed, it had also started to develop in his right eye. As always, Andre had done his research and had many questions which Dr. Berger was able to answer thoroughly. Dr. Berger recommended  corneal cross-linking for Andre’s left eye— a therapeutic treatment that stiffens the cornea to slow or halt the progression of keratoconus. After discussing the potential risks and benefits of the procedure, Andre decided to schedule the treatment.

An Informed Decision

Andre underwent corneal cross-linking in his left eye in 2016 and his right eye in the summer of 2019. Immediately after both procedures, Andre noticed the eye that was treated was sensitive to light, which caused him to sit in a dark room for the day, but about 24 hours later the majority of his sensitivity had subsided. Afterwards, Andre wore a protective bandage contact lens and applied several types of medicated drops to help continue to manage any discomfort. For a few months after each procedure, his vision fluctuated but ultimately stabilized.

Today, Andre is 48 and wears scleral contact lenses in both eyes, which allow him to see as well as he could in his early 20s. As someone who has always been very cautious about medications and procedures, Andre says he is incredibly glad he chose to receive FDA approved cross-linking from a leading corneal specialist.

Now that Andre’s keratoconus has been treated, not only has his golf game improved, he is able to enjoy many other activities that glasses once prohibited him from doing. At work, he is able to focus and no longer gets headaches from looking at his screen for long periods of time. His wife even says that wearing contacts, rather than glasses, has given him a more youthful and vibrant look.

 

Find a Cross-Linking Expert Near You

Search our physician locator to find a cross-linking expert who is familiar with treating progressive keratoconus.

 

The results described on this site are based on data collected regarding short- and intermediate-term efficacy of treatment. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.

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