For Patients

I Should Have Owned Stock in Eye Drops

Patient: Tammy Truman
Diagnosis: dry eye
Sight Restored: October 2010

Tammy Truman of Alberta, Calgary, was a lifelong contact lens wearer. One day when she put her contacts in they just didn’t feel right.

What began was a four year ordeal for Tammy, who suffers from severe dry eye. She believes that her dry eye may be a complication of Crohn’s disease, which causes eye problems in approximately 10% of those who have the disease, although that has not been confirmed by her doctors. Tammy went to her eye doctor for treatment; little did she know that this would be the first of many such visits to come.

Tammy was told that she could no longer wear contact lenses, a situation that greatly affected her ability to enjoy outdoor activities that she loved such as water or snow skiing. “It is really hard to water ski with glasses on,” said Tammy. In addition to her reduced ability to enjoy life, Tammy’s suffered from severe light sensitivity. She had to limit the time she spent getting ready to leave the house each day as the light in her bathroom bothered her greatly.

Over the next four years Tammy tried many different dry eye treatments – “every drop in the world – I should own stock”, gels, antibiotics, punctual plugs, humidifiers – to no avail. Her doctors told her that there was nothing else that they could do.

Enter Dr. Jamie Bhamra. Dr Bhamra was new to Calgary and was aware that the Doheny Eye Center at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles was home to a PROSE clinic. He referred Tammy to Dr. Gloria Chiu at Doheny. Tammy traveled to Los Angeles in October 2010, where, thirty minutes after the first trial set of prosthetic devices were inserted into her eyes, Tammy felt tremendous relief. “It was unbelievable, hard to describe,” said Tammy. “The feeling of ‘oh my god’ I don’t feel my eyes. I don’t have that pain, that stinging sensation, that annoying ‘you want to rip your eyes out’ feeling. It was gone.”

Today, Tammy is once again active and fully able to enjoy her life. She wears her prosthetic devices for up to 14 hours each day and wishes she never had to take them out; but even during the few hours a day she does not wear them, her dry eye symptoms have lessened considerably because her eyes have been allowed to heal. Best of all, Tammy now has 20/15 vision in both eyes when wearing her devices, which is better than had ever been achieved through glasses or contacts!

Tammy is very grateful for the help she received from Dr. Bhamra and Dr. Chiu, and from Canadian Health Care, who she said were helpful and easy to work with. She only wishes that there was a PROSE clinic partner in Canada.

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