This true story is the first in our series Stories of Hope. These stories, about people who have triumphed over their Dry Eye symptoms, will inspire you and give you hope. In this story, William Cravey tells us about his wife who had suffered with Dry Eye since before 1997 and how she finally was able find relief.
In 1997, my wife’s Dry Eye symptoms were so bad that she finally had to stop working and go on long term disability. Eventually she qualified for Social Security Disability. Over the years she had suffered miserably and said it felt like “having sand in her eyes 24/7/365.” We tried every treatment we could find and she had to use artificial tears every 5 minutes to get relief.
Eventually she became chronically depressed and sleep was almost impossible. It affected every aspect of our life together, including our relationship. We often cancelled plans because she could never predict how she would be feeling that day. The pain and discomfort was tearing our relationship apart and finally we divorced. But I continued to support her and eventually we remarried.
Searching for Serum Tears
My wife’s ophthalmologist finally prescribed autologous serum tears (eye drops made from her own blood) which reduced her pain significantly. Thankfully, we were able to get them locally, but then our local supply suddenly stopped and I began to search for another source in Florida.
I found two. One was in Tampa, Dr. Steven Maskin, and the other was in Miami. I contacted Dr. Maskin’s office to see if we could obtain the drops from him. We were told that he could help and prescribe serum tears, but that as per Florida laws, he would have to examine her first.
My wife made an appointment and after seeing Dr. Maskin, a treatment plan was established. It basically entailed resurfacing her eye. It sounded scary and we were both a little hesitant at first. I spent many hours researching both the procedure and Dr. Maskin, a truly gifted physician. We chose to go forward and scheduled the first surgery. We were both surprised that it was a little uncomfortable but definitely nothing to fear.
Result Gives Hope
The surgery (conjunctivoplasty with amniotic membrane transplants) to resurface her eyes has been completed. Already the pain from the dry eyes is almost gone, her vision is better, and her depression is lifting. She returned to her original ophthalmologist, who examined her eyes for the first time after the surgery, and who had done some partial resurfacing but never a complete resurface. She was amazed. She said to my wife, “If I weren’t looking at you, I wouldn’t believe it’s the same eyes.”
We are still waiting for my wife’s insurance to approve the meibomian gland probing procedure, but even with the resurfacing procedure alone, the results were beyond our wildest expectations. We expect my wife will have her meibomian glands probed soon and, once completed, I will provide an update on her progress.
We are extremely pleased with the outcome. I just don’t know why these treatments and their effectiveness are not better known. If you have Dry Eye and your current treatments are ineffective, I suggest you get evaluated by another physician that is familiar with these conditions and treatment options.
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