For Patients

Passion for Painting - and Life

Patient: Tina Lesperance
Diagnosis: keratoconus
Sight Restored: 2013

BostonSight® PROSE patient Tina Lesperance’s passion for creating art bloomed when she was in her 20’s. Unfortunately, her poor eyesight forced her to put away the paint brushes. Tina’s eyesight troubles began when she was just six years old, and it wasn’t until she was 18 that she was diagnosed with keratoconus, a disease where the cornea thins and bulges, forming a cone shape. She shares the disease, which often runs in families, with her daughter and a cousin.

PROSE patient and painter Tina, who has keratoconus

Since her diagnosis, Tina has had eleven surgeries on her eyes, including two corneal transplants on each eye, and intraocular lens transplants. None of these procedures halted the progress of her disease for very long.  Also, the steroids she took for more than thirty years to prevent the rejection of her transplanted corneas, have left her with permanent damage to one eye.

Tina had completed BostonSight PROSE treatment in the past and was “very satisfied” with her prosthetic devices. However, additional eye surgeries changed the landscape of her corneas, rendering her devices obsolete. Doctors close to her home in Vermont were unable to fit her with scleral lenses due to her scarred and distorted corneas, which tended to develop edema (swelling).

“I had been unable to leave my home before without assistance,” said Tina. “I frequently hurt myself by bumping into things, knocking items over and breaking them, and getting burned when trying to cook. I depended on my husband to help with all the daily activities.”

So, in 2013, Tina returned to BFS and the capable hands of Ryan Ridges, MD. Dr. Ridges was able to further customize her devices to greatly reduced her swelling.  Although the fragility of her left corneal transplant limits her use of a prosthetic device in that eye, she wears the device in her right eye every day.  “I can’t tell you how happy I am for the improvement in my vision. I can function more independently now, and am able to see my artwork. The comfort and clarity of this device is amazing.”

Tina recently picked up her paint brushes again. In the summer of 2013, her painting, entitled “Co-Workers” (pictured below), won first prize in the watercolor division at the Champlain Valley Fair. She hopes to continue painting for many years to come, with the help of PROSE. “The only hope was Boston Foundation for Sight.  I’m very grateful for the help and support I needed.”

Tina is an inspiration, and her can-do attitude is an illustration of what it means to not give up. You can view more of her work at http://miltonartistsguild.org/TLesperance.html

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Painting done by PROSE patient Tina