Life is Wonderful Again!
Patient: Ray Carpentier
Diagnosis: Ocular Herpes
Sight Restored: July 2010
In 1995, Ray Carpentier was enjoying his retirement in Florida when he was stricken by a form of herpes that infects the eyes.
The herpes simplex virus (HSV), which affects 60% of the world’s population by the age of 5, had manifested as a cold sore on Ray’s lip a few times per year for the last 30 years. Excessive exposure to sunlight is a common trigger and Ray had been badly sunburned while snorkeling.
But this time the virus attacked his right eye.
Ray’s ophthalmologist diagnosed him with the ocular form of HSV which affects 500,000 Americans annually. Ray was one of the unlucky few (10% or less) that developed a severe recurrent variant of the disease. Over the next ten years he suffered multiple attacks; each requiring a full year of treatment and healing.
By 2009, the cornea in Ray’s eye had become so scarred that he was forced to keep his eye shut. The pain and light sensitivity were intense - every blink was agonizing. Reading, using a computer or driving were out of the question.
Luckily, Dr. Mark Herschel of the McGruder Eye Institute in Orlando, FL, who began treating Ray in 2005, had referred several patients with other corneal conditions to Boston Foundation for Sight for PROSE treatment with great results and he was optimistic that BFS could help Ray as well. A conversation with another PROSE patient with ocular herpes convinced Ray to make the trip to Boston.
Upon inserting the first trial prosthetic device into his eye, Ray “immediately felt considerable reduction in light sensitivity along with significant vision improvement.” Two weeks later, Ray completed PROSE treatment and returned to Florida with his new devices.
Today, Ray wears his prosthetic device for his waking hours along with a pair of prescription glasses with prisms in the lenses to help his right and left eye work together. He can now read, drive and use the computer and, according to Ray, "Life is wonderful again."
Ray is incredibly grateful to Dr. Herschel, and BFS doctors Deborah Jacobs and Alan Kwok and hopes that others suffering with severe chronic ocular herpes will read his story and find inspiration and hope.