For Patients

Rebirth

Patient: Meghan Rizzo
Diagnosis: GVHD
Sight Restored: December 2013

Cancer survivor and PROSE patient Meghan

Meghan Coppola Rizzo had just given birth to her third child when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. She was fortunate that her sister was a good match, and in September 2011 she received a successful stem cell transplant. Unfortunately, like many of the people who receive allogeneic stem cell transplants, Meghan developed ocular graft-versus-host disease about a year after her transplant. For the stay-at-home Mom of three active children, the disease, which essentially caused her eyes to stop producing tears, was debilitating.

“It was so bad, I couldn’t drive my kids to school – I couldn’t even get them dressed in the morning,” said Meghan. “My eyes were blurry and burning all the time. I couldn’t go outside - the wind hurt my eyes too much. I would spend the day sitting on my couch, with a hot rag pressed against my eyes to try and relieve some of the pain.”

Meghan spent months going back and forth between medical appointments in New York and her home in central New Jersey, looking for a solution. “I was using an entire box of single use eye drops each day, at a cost of $17 per box, and even that didn’t provide much relief.  I would wake up in the middle of the night in pain because my eyes were so dry.”

The pain and constant use of eye drops began to affect Meghan’s quality of life. “We went to Florida on vacation and I had to leave a restaurant because I ran out of eye drops.” Sitting on a beach was impossible, and Meghan struggled to explain to her young children why she could not do all of the fun things with them that she used to be able to do.

In 2013, Meghan’s transplant doctor Tsiporah Shore, MD, referred her to Jessica Ciralsky, MD, at Weill Cornell Eye Associates; Dr. Ciralsky referred Meghan to BostonSight® PROSE Clinical Fellow Michelle Lee, OD, and PROSE treatment. “Dr. Lee is a perfectionist,” said Meghan. “I thought my PROSE devices fit just fine, but she keeps working to make them better and better. She is an excellent doctor.”

Today, Meghan wears her PROSE devices all day, every day. “This has been a rebirth for me. PROSE has changed my life. The devices are like a bath on my eyes – the second I put them in, the burning and pain is gone. If I could go back, I definitely would have had PROSE treatment sooner than I did – there was no need for me to suffer all that time when a solution like PROSE is available. I just wish more people knew about it – if it wasn’t for Dr. Ciralsky I might never have known about PROSE.”

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