A Turbulent Journey
As an airplane mechanic, Nic depends on his eyesight to inspect and repair airplanes. However, when his vision began to fail, he needed to find a “fix” for that as well.
Working at night on the airfield, the Seattle resident had become accustomed to the noise and flashes of light that surrounded him and continued his work unbothered by the activity. However, seemingly out of nowhere, he noticed his vision was changing as he started to see halos and glare and halos of light as he worked. His night vision slowly began to decline making it increasingly challenging for him to see what he was working on.
A Problem Without A Manual
Once Nic realized that his vision challenges were not temporary, he made an appointment with his optometrist. Unfortunately, Nic was unprepared for what the optometrist discovered: he was living with keratoconus in both eyes, a degenerative eye disease that causes progressive thinning and bulging of the cornea, resulting in vision problems.
While some keratoconus patients have family members who also suffer from the condition, this was the first time Nic had heard of it. He was crushed to discover that his vision would most likely continue to deteriorate.
After meeting with an ophthalmologist, Nic learned more about his diagnosis and was relieved to discover that there were treatment options available. One option he explored was intrastromal corneal ring segments, also known as Intacs. He hoped that the implantable device might be able to help him restore his vision, but in order for the doctor to perform the surgery, his keratoconus would have to stabilize.
Once Intacs® were ruled out as a potential option, he learned about corneal cross-linking, a procedure used to strengthen the bonds within the corneal collagen and help prevent further deterioration. With the progression halted, the condition would be easier to manage and improve his chances for a successful Intacs surgery. However, at that time, cross-linking was still experimental and not approved by the FDA.
“It’s tough knowing keratoconus is not preventable or fixable, but you can change the course a little,” Nic reflected after learning about his options.
Nic waited for the procedure to receive FDA approval in 2016 and scheduled his cross-linking procedure. In September 2017, Nic’s left eye was successfully cross-linked, followed by his right eye in December 2017. After his surgery, Nic was in pain for the first two days, but by the third day, he managed to get the pain under control and started to resume his normal activities. He also experienced some blurriness that remained for the next three weeks following each procedure.
As of June 2018, Nic’s corneas have stabilized enough for his ophthalmologist to proceed with the Intacs surgery. His right cornea is holding steady following the surgery, and he is now looking forward to undergoing the procedure on his left eye this September.
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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.