Uncomfortable with putting contact lenses in his eyes, for years Mike opted to wear glasses to help correct his vision. Over time, Mike noticed that the glasses were no longer helping him see as well as they once had. He gradually began experiencing double vision and serious night blindness. It eventually became too difficult to drive at night, and he would have to change his plans or leave social gatherings early to get home before dark.

While adjusting his lifestyle at first was possible, although inconvenient, it eventually became impossible when Mike’s deteriorating vision began to impact his ability to do his job. As a financial advisor, Mike works with the families of military personnel and veterans, helping them sort out the finances of their loved ones who have passed. Passionate about his work, Mike soon realized he needed to visit a doctor when he began transposing numbers and seeing double. After years of neglecting his vision care, he knew he needed to visit an optometrist to address his concerns.

Joining the Club

During his appointment, Mike’s optometrist administered several tests and told him he was living with a mild case of keratoconus, a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape, causing distorted vision. Mike shared the news with his family, only to learn that his mom was also living with the condition and she warmly welcomed him into the “keratoconus club.”

At the time, the progression of his keratoconus was still mild, so Mike’s optometrist recommended they try making adjustments to his glasses prescription, instead of receiving a corneal transplant, which at the time was the only FDA approved treatment option. Unfortunately, over time his vision continued worsen.

About two years after his initial diagnosis, the same optometrist tried fitting him for rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses made of durable plastic that can transmit oxygen, intended to mask the underlying corneal irregularity. While he tried his best to wear these lenses, Mike ultimately felt they were too uncomfortable and returned to wearing glasses. At this time, Mike felt defeated by his keratoconus.

Changing Course

During his next appointment, Mike’s optometrist mentioned that a leading corneal specialist, Vance Thompson Vision, had recently opened a new office closer to his home, and suggested that it was time for Mike to consider more serious treatment options to address his keratoconus.

After making an appointment, Mike was examined by Dr. Brandon Baartman, who confirmed that he now had a more advanced case of keratoconus. Dr. Baartman shared that he was a candidate for FDA approved corneal cross-linking— the first and only therapeutic treatment that stiffens the cornea to slow or halt the progression of keratoconus.

Although hesitant at first, Mike did his research and ultimately decided to schedule the procedure. In the summer of 2019, he received cross-linking in his left eye, and despite his fears, the procedure was surprisingly simple. Both during and afterwards, Mike’s pain was mild. He used numbing drops to help manage any discomfort, and kept his eyes closed as much as possible. About a month later, he received cross-linking on his right eye. His experience during the second procedure was remarkably similar to the first.

Now three months since his procedure, Mike feels no pain or discomfort and continues to wait for his vision to stabilize. In the meantime, Mike’s family has been incredibly supportive, and he hopes to try wearing soft contact lenses again in the future.

 

Find a Corneal Cross-Linking Specialist Near You

Search the directory to locate a corneal specialist 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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