Seeing the possibilities
Patient: Sharyn Mead
Sight Restored: April 2013
Sharyn Mead was just 21 when keratoconus began to take over her life. “I cannot begin to count how many visits I had with ophthalmologists, optometrists, and contact lens fitters - going for examinations and fittings and returning again and again,” she said. Despite all of her efforts, she found no relief from the intense light sensitivity and gritty, sandy feeling in her eyes; she never left the house without her visor and sunglasses, both of which she often had to use indoors as well. Corneal transplants in each eye did not help.
As her vision deteriorated, so did Sharyn’s enjoyment in life. “Taking the lenses out, resting my eyes, looking for lenses that popped out and putting them back in - if I could - was my routine every single day of my life; it was often an hourly practice just so I could see enough to work or drive.”
And this is the way she lived for the next forty years. “As the years went on, my life got smaller and smaller. I couldn’t see the possibilities without my sight.”
Finally, in 2013, Sharyn learned about BostonSight® PROSE treatment. Having been under or unemployed for several years due to her vision, Sharyn applied to BFS for financial assistance and was thrilled to learn that 100% of her treatment costs would be covered. She made the drive from her home in New Jersey, but did not have much hope – until she began her treatment.
“My trainer, Heidi, was incredible. Through each stage, she was extremely encouraging and was there for me every step of the way,” said Sharyn. She was very impressed with BFS - which she called a “well-oiled machine” – and with her doctor, Ryan Ridges, MD. “He made 14 pairs of prosthetic devices for me before we got the perfect fit. With the first pair there was such an improvement that I would have been happy to go home with those, but he kept making adjustments to the design until he got them to fit perfectly over all the bumps on my corneas.”
Today, Sharyn wears her PROSE devices all day, every day. Her activities include things that require good vision, such as bird watching and singing in a chorus (“I could never read the music before.”). She is studying to become certified in English and Spanish and hopes to get a job teaching English as a Second Language. Sharyn plans to become a BFS donor once she gets her finances in order. “I was seriously depressed,” she said. “I feel like I have my life back, and I will be forever grateful.”