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About eight years ago, after her second child was born, Cassandra Perry of Oxford, Michigan, noticed several changes with her eyes, including halos, double vision, and cloudy vision at times. But her eye doctor dismissed her symptoms as the result of her being incredibly nearsighted. Luckily, she decided to see a new eye doctor.
VSP doctor, Mark Payne, OD, taking note of her strong prescription, began her appointment by asking her questions no other eye doctor had asked her before. Based on her answers and what he saw during her comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Payne suspected something wasn’t quite right with Cassandra’s eyes.
He shared the symptoms of Fuchs’ dystrophy with Cassandra, which he believed she had. Fuchs’ dystrophy is a disease where the bottom layer of the cornea erodes, leaving the eye unable to pump out excess moisture. A healthy cornea—the transparent, dome-shaped surface of the eye—is a key factor in having clear vision. Conditions like Fuchs’ dystrophy, which distort the cornea or reduce its transparency, often impair vision. It creates painful blisters on the cornea and makes it hard to see depth and colors. This disease also makes it difficult to clearly see faces when light shines from behind the person.
Dr. Payne explained every aspect of the hereditary disease, its symptoms, and treatment to Cassandra. Then, he referred her to a local ophthalmologist, who confirmed that she indeed suffered from Fuchs’ dystrophy. The ophthalmologist immediately scheduled Cassandra for a corneal transplant.
The only cure for Fuchs’ dystrophy is a corneal transplant. Today, it’s the most common organ and tissue transplant in the United States. In fact, about 40,000 people undergo the procedure each year.
Had Cassandra gone any longer without diagnosis and treatment, she could have suffered irreversible damage. Because of a diligent eye doctor, who asked the right questions and gave her a thorough eye exam, Cassandra is able to see clearly again. If you have a sudden vision change or experience severe irritation, visit your VSP eye doctor right away.
Sources: Indiana University, School of Optometry; Mayo Clinic; National Eye Institute