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Ophthalmology Archive

Life isn’t a blur anymore after cornea transplant surgery

Posted on December 15th, 2012 by Margaret Shepard

Maxine Kaehler

Wearing a festive shirt she received from her grandchildren, Maxine Kaehler is enjoying her improved vision and quality of life following cornea transplant surgery.

Life had literally been a blur for 87-year-old Maxine Kaehler for the past 18 years as three age-related eye conditions gradually worsened vision in both of her eyes. Her vision deteriorated so much that by 2008 she could not drive, or read the newspaper or a restaurant menu.

In May 2008, Maxine had a partial-thickness cornea transplant on her right eye to treat Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy. The results were almost instantaneous.

"After the transplant, I realized there were words on the buttons on my microwave, and then I looked at my dishwasher and noticed the same thing. I couldn't believe it. I was just pushing random buttons before because I couldn't read what was written on them," says Maxine with a laugh.

If you know Maxine, you know that seeing little details are important to her daily routine as a retiree. Some of her favorite hobbies include embroidering, playing cards with friends and cooking. Read the rest of this entry »

Rare Arthritis No Match for Woman Determined to Save Her Eyesight

Posted on August 23rd, 2012 by Jason Pratt

(written by Raquel Rivas - Mayo Clinic in Florida)

Sandy Blue and husbandWhen most of us think about eye problems, we think about a trip to the eye doctor for a new eyeglass prescription. But for Sandy Blue, a rare eye condition posed a mystery that almost left her blind.

Blue, then 44, first noticed red streaks in her eyes as she got ready for work one morning in 2008. She thought she was just tired, but her eyes got progressively worse. Eventually, “the white part of the eyes went red like apples. ” She saw a local eye specialist in Savannah, Georgia, and was treated with antibiotics for eye redness and pain that spread to her ears.

“I saw eight different ophthalmologists over the next six months,” recalls Blue. Different eye drops did not help, and her eyes became “cranberry sauce red” and painful.

Read the rest of this entry »

Teamwork makes the routine extraordinary

Posted on August 10th, 2012 by Susana Shephard

There was no doubting the value of the team approach on the early morning of Tuesday, May 22, 2012 in the Ambulatory Surgery Center at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

In what was otherwise a fairly routine procedure — cataract removal — this time required the assistance of the ophthalmologic surgeon, nurses, a cardiologist and a cardiac device specialist. The center of attention was the patient — 62-year-old James Billingsley, a Vietnam veteran with Type II diabetes, a hearing issue, a bad heart and cataracts.

The Mayo team had two important goals — safety and quality of life for Billingsley. Billingsley, thanks to a ventricular support device (VAD) to support his failing heart, had been granted "extra innings" in a life that includes a supportive family, friends and a passion for performing as part of the honor guard for commemorations such as Memorial Day.

Dave Patel, M.D., chair of Ophthalmology, was strongly motivated to improve Billingsley's sight so he could enjoy life. But Billingsley's surgery did not fall in the category of routine. Cataracts needed to be removed from both of his eyes, and Patel decided to do a double cataract surgery so Billingsley would not have to go through the procedure twice.

Billingsley's heart needed to be monitored, and safety was top priority. So a team converged to closely monitor blood pressure levels and intravenous meds. "This double cataract surgery on a patient with a VAD could not be done elsewhere in a traditional eye center because of the potential risks," Patel says. "Here, at Mayo Clinic, we have all the specialists coming together as a team for the safety of the patient in this special circumstance."

The surgery was a success. One day later, when Billingsley returned for a follow-up appointment, his spirits were high and his sight had already improved. In fact, one eye registered 20/20 and the other eye was almost as good. "It made a big difference. Now I can read, I can watch TV and it doesn’t feel like I’m looking through dirty glass. Dr. Patel did an excellent job."

Mackenzie’s vision: Coordinated care, rapid treatment restore child’s eyesight

Posted on November 8th, 2011 by Stacy Theobald

Mackenzie ChicosWhen Mackenzie Chicos, an active 8-year-old from Owatonna, Minn., woke up for school one morning seeing spots in her left eye, her family didn’t suspect that anything could be seriously wrong.

It was — and her vision was at risk.

On that day in September 2010, Mackenzie went to school as usual. She mentioned the spotty vision to her teacher, who sent her to see the school nurse. The nurse performed a vision test, which was normal, and sent Mackenzie home with a note alerting her parents about the eye screening.

Read the rest of this entry »

A new way to treat glaucoma

Posted on August 6th, 2009 by Catherine Benson

Doctors at Mayo Clinic in Florida and Minnesota are using a new technique to stabilize glaucoma and preserve vision.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that slowly damages the vision. A leading cause of blindness, it occurs when the eye’s natural drainage system fails to work properly. Fluid builds up inside the eye leading to elevated pressure that can permanently damage the optic nerve. Read the rest of this entry »