I missed it by a couple of days.
After years of conflicting advise and being bounced from specialist to specialist for keratoconus, I finally seemed to have found a set of doctors I trusted and who gave me a solid course of action.
The news was not great– the scarring on my left eye was fairly severe, dead center. My right now, now also presenting with keratoconus could not receive corneal cross-linking, a promising laser-based treatment to temper the progression of keratoconus, because my left eye vision was so poor the risks outweighed the benefits.
The hope? Improve the left eye, hopefully before summer, so that I could get corneal cross-linking before the right eye got as bad as the left. How would we do this? After years of not having corrected/correctable vision in that eye and all blur, it was time to take seriously my need for a partial corneal transplant. My hope had always been to avoid this, because I’m young, there are risks, they don’t last forever, and artificial corneas seem just years away.
This latest doctor though gave me some hope– they would be willing to do the partial transplant, but first they insisted I try scleral lenses. I had been offered lenses in the past, but with caveats. I was told they were expensive, that my keratoconus was so severe they’d need to order whole new fitting kits, and that the likelihood was I’d get only modest vision improvement. My new doctor said that she thought we’d have much better luck focusing through (around?) the scarring. That if she could get me to 20/40 vision with the lenses, we would have some options to do a “scrape” to try and remove the scar tissue instead of a full transplant.
This whole course of action was a bit time bound– we wanted to see if we can’t get to the crosslinking before the right eye got worse and risked scarring.
And of course, my follow up was the first week of quarantine.
Today, I got to go to that follow up appointment. And to my delight and surprise (and even to my doctor’s surprise), we did better than 20/40 with the scleral lens. For the first time in 5 years, not only could I make out shapes with my left eye, I achieved a “blurry 20/20”.
I’m frustrated. I have had doctor’s telling me about scleral lenses for years, but making clear that I should only expect modest improved vision and that it was a pain in the butt and expensive. They are expensive. And I don’t know yet how much of a pain in the ass they’ll be. But at least for now, I won’t need a transplant and starting in a few weeks, I’ll be using both of my eyes to see again.