Sometimes Patients Teach Doctors

Doctor talking to patientFrom PROSE patient Mary Dalessio:

I have had many issues with my eyes over the 7 years since I received a stem cell transplant in 2004. The difficulties I faced included contracting Graft versus Host Disease (GVHD) which affected many systems in my body including my eyes. At first, my ophthalmologist attributed the problems to cataracts, and so I had cataract surgery in both eyes in 2007. This same year I also had an episode of spontaneous corneal erosion, in which I felt like I was having the worst migraine of my life.

After having laser treatment to try to relieve the problem in my right eye, I eventually lost all vision in that eye. My ophthalmologist was sympathetic, but I don’t think he realized how much pain I was in or how little an impact over-the-counter drops had on my dry eye symptoms. I had plugs put in, with little success, and I also I tried Restasis, which I could not tolerate. Finally, I looked into the PROSE devices through the Boston Foundation for Sight (BFS). I felt relief the minute the devices were put into my eyes!  At this point, 13 months after receiving the devices, I don’t think I could live without them. While I still have some minor discomfort during the day because I need to change the devices, I am able to drive, work on the computer, and read to my heart’s content. I do still get Large Print books out of the library though.

Ever since I got the devices, I have been bringing my ophthalmologist any information available about PROSE, including a BFS pamphlet that describes the connection between GVHD and dry eyes. My ophthalmologist was virtually unaware of what PROSE treatment could do. He thanked me for “educating” him on the devices and said that he is now prepared the next time a GVHD patient comes to him.

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