Seeing What Has Been Missing
Patient: Martie Polleys
Diagnosis: Corneal Lattice Dystrophy
Sight Restored: 2013
Martha “Martie” Polleys (pictured with husband Dave) has had Corneal Lattice Dystrophy, a disease in which abnormal material accumulates in vine-like patterns on the surface of the cornea, for her entire life. A hereditary disease, it also affects numerous members of her family, including her son. Martie would develop corneal abrasions for no apparent reason, requiring her to wear an eye patch for at least a week, with countless applications of topical antibiotic. “Every time my eye would move, which was quite often, I felt incredible pain,” remembers Martie.
After each incident, corneal scarring would occur, making Martie’s vision and eye pain worse. “It felt like a hundred eyelashes scratching my cornea at the same time.” Over the years, she had her corneas scraped every six months or so to remove the scars left from previous abrasions. She also underwent laser surgery and two corneal transplants. None of these procedures improved her situation for very long.
Martie’s doctor suggested many times that she should schedule a consultation for BostonSight® PROSE treatment at Boston Foundation for Sight. However, Martie was extremely hesitant and skeptical. As a young adult she had tried contact lenses and, “I had a terrible time with them. I would wear them for less than an hour and my eyes would hurt so badly.” She was certain that PROSE devices would cause the same problems and wanted nothing to do with a treatment that involved putting something into her eyes every day.
“I only went to the appointment to keep my family happy,” she recalled. “After the first prosthetic devices were inserted, I was STUNNED at what I could see. I could read the menu at Dunkin Donuts for the first time, and I had never noticed before how many freckles my daughter has; I hadn’t realized how beautiful she has become. As amazing as my vision was, I was certain that within an hour my corneas would be scratched and hurting – but they weren’t.”
After several adjustments to her PROSE devices, and thorough training on how to apply and remove them each day, Martie saw well enough to drive herself home – and for the first time in her life, she drove without glasses. In addition to giving her improved vision, the prosthetic devices soothe and heal her eyes, protecting them from the wind, her eyelashes, and other sources of abrasion.
“I was dead set against putting anything in my eyes, but I am thrilled to have my PROSE devices – I wouldn’t want to go a single day without them. The staff at BFS is incredible. They helped me so much, from financial assistance, to training, to scheduling appointments that worked for me. I really can’t say enough good things about them – they are truly miracle workers, every single one of them. I want to thank them all for giving me the ability to truly see what I have been missing, and for giving me my life back.”