Pam is from Gastonia, N.C and she was diagnosed with Keratoconus when she was a teenager. Keratoconus is a disease of the cornea which results in irregular astigmatism due to a steepening of the cornea. People with keratoconus have a slowly progressive decrease in their vision which cannot be corrected with glasses. The reason glasses do not correct the decreasing vision of keratoconus is because keratoconus causes irregular astigmatism. Irregular astigmatism is different from the normal astigmatism that people usually have which is easily corrected with glasses.
Since Pam was diagnosed with keratoconus in the 1970’s the only possible treatment at that time was a corneal transplant surgery. This involves removing the diseased cornea of the person with keratoconus and putting a donor graft cornea on the patient. Pam underwent the corneal transplant surgery as a teenager and received two corneal grafts. Today, there are currently other solutions to keratoconus such as scleral contact lenses, however since Pam was diagnosed in the 1970’s, these other solutions were not available to her.
Pam came to Complete Eye Care in Belmont, N.C for an eye exam with Dr. Barbara Marcussen, who found Pam to have 20/100 vision with glasses. Pam stated she had difficulty driving and could not see to drive at night even with her glasses. Dr. Marcussen told Pam about a great solution to her decreased vision, which had resulted from her corneal transplant surgery. People who have had corneal transplants often have irregular astigmatism because of how the donor cornea placed on the person receiving the transplant heals. Pam was thrilled to know there was a solution that would result in sharp, clear vision again after so many years of poor vision.
Dr. Marcussen fit Pam in scleral contact lens that she specially designed based on a topography reading, which individually maped 11,000 points on Pam’s cornea. The scleral lens is designed so that it fits and contours the cornea perfectly. Scleral contact lenses are an excellent solution for people who have undergone corneal transplants, as well as people who have keratoconus. After Pam was fit in scleral contact lenses by Dr. Marcussen, she went from seeing a blurry 20/100 distorted vision to clear crisp 20/25 vision.
Pam feels she has had a true miracle happen in her life. Prior to being fit in scleral contact lenses, Pam had a restrictive driver’s license which only allowed her to drive on small side streets, did not allow any interstate driving or any driving on roads over 45 mph. Because of the tremendous improvement in her vision from being fit in scleral contact lenses at Complete Eye Care, Pam was able to get a normal nonrestrictive driver license for the first time. She is now able to go out of town since she can now see clear enough to drive on the highway. She can see clear to drive after dark and does not feel like a prisoner in her home at night. She can even take her son to sports practice and pick him up after dark! Pam feels scleral contact lenses have opened up an entire new life for her. She has not had vision this clear and sharp in over 30 years. We are so excited for Pam and will always remember how much her face lit up when she first put on her scleral contact lenses!