Vision Challenges at School

Kiana’s struggle with her vision began during her senior year of high school in Boston, Massachusetts. Instead of looking forward to her future, Kiana found herself experiencing troublesome symptoms with her vision, including difficulty studying for extended periods of time and seeing halos while driving at night.

In their search for answers, Kiana and her mom sought out a specialist in the Boston area. She was diagnosed with astigmatism and prescribed glasses that proved ineffective at solving her vision issues.

Further complicating her journey to diagnosis, Kiana chose to attend the prestigious Spellman College in Atlanta to study Sociology. She would soon move more than 1,000 miles from home and begin her freshman year far away from the continued support of her mother and eye doctor.

As her college career progressed, Kiana’s vision continued to deteriorate. Her doctor tried fitting her with both soft and hard contact lenses, but neither seemed to help. Kiana continued to experience difficulty reading for long periods of time and seeing well enough to drive safely at night.

At this point it became clear that Kiana was suffering from something more serious than astigmatism – prompting her to seek out other eye specialists for a second opinion.

A New Diagnosis

After several consultations, Kiana finally received a diagnosis that explained her deteriorating eyesight and other symptoms – she had keratoconus, a rare disease, in both eyes. Keratoconus is a degenerative eye disease that causes thinning or bulging in the cornea, eventually leading to worsened vision and in some individuals, blindness.

While the initial diagnosis was overwhelming to hear, Kiana found that knowing her condition provided some relief. Now that she finally had a clear diagnosis, she could begin the process of researching available treatments for this disease – or at least find a way to manage her symptoms more effectively.

While Kiana’s keratoconus presented in both eyes, further testing revealed that the progression of the disease in her left eye was far more advanced than the right. Considering the prognosis and all available treatment options, her initial focus was on preserving the quality of her right eye at all costs. In Kiana’s words, “If I could keep my good eye working well, I could accept blindness in my left eye.”

Thankfully, being based in Boston meant the family was in close proximity to one of the most prestigious hospitals in the country.

A Clearer Future

Kiana connected with a doctor who was offering corneal cross-linking, a new procedure to treat progressive keratoconus. Rather than attempting to “fix” her eyesight, cross-linking strengthens the corneas to halt the progression of the disease.

After an initial consultation, the doctor confirmed that she could treat both of Kiana’s eyes. In June 2017, just over five years after Kiana began struggling to see in the classroom, she underwent cross-linking and took a pivotal step in treating her keratoconus.

Since the surgery, Kiana’s keratoconus has not progressed further, and her doctor has been able to provide a better fit for her scleral lenses. Kiana can now look forward to her future. She is currently excited about getting married in 2018 and being able to see her fiancée as she walks down the aisle. She continues to work as a community counselor for at-risk teens and can now drive herself and her clients around with confidence.

Click to learn more about Kiana’s story or to read more KC Journeys.

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.