Patient: Alberto Lopez
Diagnosis: complications post-surgery
Sight Restored: 2015
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis – otherwise known as LASIK - is an increasingly popular surgery. Performed by ophthalmologists who use a laser to reshape the cornea (the clear front part of the eye), the goal of LASIK is to improve visual acuity. The procedure can correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism. For many people, LASIK is a surgical alternative to having to wear glasses or contact lenses. Sadly, for some, like Alberto Lopez, MD, it can cause permanent ocular damage.
Alberto had LASIK in 2010 to correct the severe near-sightedness that had affected him since childhood. Prior to the procedure, the LASIK surgeon took note of the redness of Alberto’s eyelids, and suggested he follow up with his eye doctor, but proceeded with the surgery anyway. Alberto was later diagnosed with ocular rosacea, a neurovascular disorder that causes the blood vessels to become hyper-responsive to stimuli; people with untreated ocular rosacea should not have LASIK.
After surgery, Alberto’s left eye was doing well. He suffered with painful dry eye and ulcers in his right eye; fortunately, this stabilized after six months. However, late in 2014 Alberto had to undergo a procedure to repair a detached right retina (a rare complication of LASIK for those who are very nearsighted). A second retinal surgery followed in January 2015, after which Alberto began to experience severe dry eye.
Soon, he was in such pain that he could barely leave his home; unable to work, he was forced to apply for temporary disability from his role as a pediatrician at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami. Air conditioning caused even more dryness, so he suffered through the oppressive heat of southern Florida without it. The intense dryness forced him to take prescription pain medication during the day, and he needed sleeping pills each night.
The situation made Alberto so sad and depressed that he sought help from a therapist. “I was completely traumatized,” remembers Alberto. “What was especially difficult were the eye doctors who would tell me that I was exaggerating, that the pain wasn’t as bad as I was making it out to be. I saw SO many doctors, and nothing really helped.”
When Alberto saw Victor Perez, MD, at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, he was – quite literally - at the end of his rope. “I told Dr. Perez’s fellow (assistant) to just take my eye out. I’d rather not have an eye than to live with this pain.” Dr. Perez diagnosed Alberto with neurotrophic keratitis; he and Priscilla Sotomayor, OD, determined that Alberto was an ideal candidate for BostonSight PROSE treatment. “PROSE treatment has been like a miracle for me. I thought I would never be able to go back to work, and now I can even work the night shift. I can do things outdoors again, and the ulcers on my corneas have healed.”
So much healing has occurred that, in June 2016, Dr. Perez declared Alberto’s eye to be healthy enough to undergo a necessary cataract surgery. He now has 20/20 vision in his right eye. Alberto is beyond grateful for the excellent care he received at Bascom Palmer. “They truly live up to their name as one of the best hospitals in the world. I cannot imagine my life now without PROSE, and I am so thankful.”