Growing up, Trayci didn’t know a life without contacts or glasses, so when she had the option to receive Lasik, she took it. However, 14 years after receiving the procedure, she once again found her vision declining. Soon after, she was shocked to learn she was living with a progressive vision condition.
Life’s Unexpected Turn
Up until 2019, Trayci’s vision had been near perfect following her Lasik surgery. But in early 2019, she started to notice that her vision was slowly declining. Since Trayci is a diabetic, she immediately became concerned with this change in her vision and wanted to be sure that it was not related to her diabetes, so she made an appointment with her ophthalmologist.
To help with her vision issues, her eye doctor suggested a Lasik “tune-up.” She was told that this would improve her farsightedness; however, it would also worsen her near vision. For Trayci, this was not an option since she works in an office and stares at a computer all day. Instead, her doctor decided to give her a prescription for glasses, but Trayci decided to not fill the prescription because she could see well enough and preferred to not start wearing glasses again.
But by 2020, Trayci realized that her vision was drastically worse. She was experiencing blurry vision and terrible night vision, which caused her anxiety while driving during the day and to avoid driving at night altogether. Trayci also felt nervous when she had to travel for work by herself, since she couldn’t see the departure and arrival screens at the airport. The vision issues were even affecting her love of reading books. She purchased 12 pairs of reading glasses all with different powers in an attempt to continue reading but became too frustrated when she couldn’t find a pair that was right for her.
Taking Control of Her Vision
With her vision continuing to decline, Trayci decided to make another appointment to check her prescription. During the appointment, it was confirmed that Trayci’s vision had gotten much worse, and her prescription was drastically different than the year prior. Trayci’s doctor even went as far as to say that she shouldn’t have driven herself to or from the appointment that day. He also mentioned the possibility that Trayci could have keratoconus, and referred her to a specialist, Dr. Mark Kontos of Empire Eye in Spokane, Washington.
Sensing the urgency of the matter, Trayci quickly made an appointment with Dr. Kontos. After an initial exam, he confirmed that Trayci had keratoconus in both eyes and recommended iLink, the only FDA-approved corneal cross-linking procedure that is meant to slow or halt the progression of the condition. This diagnosis came as a shock to Trayci, especially when the doctor discussed the seriousness of the condition. It was then that she was prescribed soft contact lenses in an attempt to improve her vision. However, she found herself needing a new prescription every week because her keratoconus was progressing quickly.
Following her diagnosis, Trayci began to research her condition and any available treatment options, which is when she came across the Living with Keratoconus website. It was there that she learned more about keratoconus and FDA-approved cross-linking, which she was able to confirm Dr. Kontos offered. To preserve her vision options, Trayci decided to schedule her corneal cross-linking procedures as soon as possible. While doing her research, Trayci also discovered the Living with Keratoconus Patient Support Program, a resource that could help cover some of her out of pocket costs. Eager to receive financial support, she immediately enrolled in the program and verified her eligibility.
A Supportive Experience
Once insurance approved the procedure, Trayci had her right eye treated in August 2020 and her left eye in September 2020. In the first few days after the procedure, Trayci felt discomfort and wore a patch over her eye. Since she stares at a computer screen all day at work, she decided to take two weeks off during her recovery so she wouldn’t strain her eyes. Trayci also took the time to submit a voucher request for each eye as part of the Patient Support Program and will receive $200 ($100 per eye) toward her FDA-approved cross-linking co-pay expenses.
Trayci had initially decided to hide her diagnosis from most of her family and friends, as she didn’t want to worry anyone until she had a treatment plan in place. Now, she’s glad she did confide in them because they proved to be a big help during her recovery by keeping her company and taking her on drives. In opening up to others about her condition, Trayci was surprised to learn that her coworker’s husband and her father-in-law also have keratoconus. Trayci referred her coworker’s husband to Dr. Kontos and mentioned the Patient Support Program, and she was surprised to learn that her father-in-law had also received cross-linking to treat his progressive KC.
Looking Forward to the Future
Now that Trayci has received FDA-approved cross-linking in both of her eyes, she is looking forward to getting her first pair of scleral lenses to help improve her vision. Trayci is hopeful this will be the last time she will need to be fitted for a pair of lenses!
In addition, Trayci is finding that her life is much less stressful, and she is looking forward to almost everything in her daily life becoming easier because she is now able to see. With her keratoconus treated and looking forward to receiving an accurate lens prescription, Trayci is excited for the little things, such as watching TV, reading, going to the movies, getting her phone and computer back to a more “normal” font size, and simply driving around without worry.
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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.