Keratoconus Journey: Kenny
At the age of 32, Kenny’s optometrist told him his vision was rapidly deteriorating, but his fear of eye drops, contacts, and medical procedures stopped him from visiting a specialist he was referred to who would ultimately diagnose him with a progressive eye condition.
When Kenny was 12 years old, his optometrist presented him with the option of glasses or contacts to correct his nearsighted vision. Kenny chose the glasses. Even at a young age, the thought of having to touch his eye each morning to put contacts in was not something he was comfortable with.
Now 32 years old, Kenny has happily been wearing glasses for over 20 years. As someone who works on a computer all day, Kenny was used to looking away from his screen every once in a while to give his eyes a rest. However, about a year ago, he began taking more breaks at work to alleviate symptoms brought on by itchy dry eye. When he started having severe migraines and dizzy spells, he needed to take breaks even more frequently. In addition to his frequent breaks at work, Kenny found himself needing to pull over while driving at night due to the unbearable glare from the car lights.
Even 20 years after choosing to wear glasses, Kenny still was not comfortable putting eye drops in his eyes that he knew could help with his dry eye. Instead, he carried around a bottle of water and a cloth at all times that he would put on his eyes until they felt better.
With his declining eyesight beginning to significantly disrupt his daily life, Kenny visited his optometrist to find out what was going on with his vision. After a comprehensive eye exam, Kenny’s doctor shared shocking news: his eyesight had significantly deteriorated, nearly quadrupling his lens prescription.
While Kenny knew his vision was worsening, he didn’t expect this news. His optometrist immediately referred him to a local corneal specialist, Dr. John Frangie in Springfield, MA, for further evaluation.
After some consideration, Kenny decided he did not want to learn more about his declining vision and chose not to schedule a second appointment. Letting his fear of doctors and procedures lead his decision-making process, Kenny was willing to ‘turn a blind eye’ to his vision issues.
365 Days Later – A Diagnosis
After his shocking exam results, Kenny continued to push through his daily migraines and driving complications for a full year. In September 2019, he went back to the optometrist for his annual eye exam and learned his eyesight was even worse and would presumably continue to deteriorate. The optometrist informed him that if he did not visit Dr. Frangie for a consult soon, he would most likely need a corneal transplant in the near future. The fear of a corneal transplant procedure and hearing that his eyesight had worsened further, was enough for Kenny to realize that it was time to meet with the specialist.
At the appointment, Dr. Frangie ran further tests and diagnosed Kenny with progressive keratoconus in his right eye, while also seeing early signs of progression in the left. He immediately told him about corneal cross-linking, the only FDA-approved therapeutic treatment to slow or halt the progression of keratoconus and preserve his vision. Due to Kenny’s fears about putting anything in his eyes, he was extremely wary to have the procedure. However, Dr. Frangie discussed the risks and benefits of the procedure, reassuring him the procedure could slow or halt the progression of keratoconus.
From Fearful to Fearless
In October 2019, a month after his diagnosis, Kenny received FDA-approved cross-linking on his right eye. Kenny was relieved to learn the procedure was minimally invasive and did not involve needles or cutting, which made the experience ‘100 times better’ from the very start.
Dr. Frangie talked to Kenny through the whole appointment, relaxing him and preparing him for the procedure, which only lasted about an hour. When he was done, Kenny met his wife in the lobby to receive his prescription eye drops before heading home. After taking only one dose of pain medication, he felt no discomfort for the rest of his recovery, and three days later, he felt ready to return to work.
Moving Forward Fearlessly
Now, despite his past fears, Kenny couldn’t be happier that he received the cross-linking procedure. Following the procedure, Kenny used a daily contact lens to protect his right eye, which he admits was comfortable and only bothered him slightly because he knew it was there. Kenny has since switched back to his glasses and wears them daily.
Kenny now needs less breaks at work and is able to drive at night without issue. While he has more follow-up appointments in his future while Dr. Frangie continues to monitor his left eye, Kenny is ready to move forward fearlessly with regards to his vision.
Find a Cross-Linking Doctor Near You
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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.