“Why did I wait for so long before taking this step?”
Hi, my name is Cyclamen and I am 33 years old. I got diagnosed with Keratoconus since I was 15 years old. My Keratoconus got worse year after year and by the age I was 30, my vision (with contact lenses) got so poor that I was struggling with simple activities like reading the whiteboards/projectors at work, or even recognizing my friends at the pool. Adding to that, my hard contact lenses kept on popping out of my eyes all the time. This had a bad impact on my self confidence, and played against my professional and personal development.
My doctors here (I live in the Gulf area – Middle East) advised me to go for a corneal transplant, as my vision is poor and my corneas are very steep and very thin now.
I was very scared, and I kept thinking that: I can still see, I am not blind, why should I take that risk? What if I lose my eye during the procedure? I kept postponing and postponing, until one day, and during a work interview, my lens popped out in front of the committee. It was so embarrassing. I mean my lenses were my eyes. I don’t function without them.
I used to lose them anytime and anywhere: when driving, at the gym, at work, during outings…etc.
I remember once, I got an eye infection and had to remove my contact lenses for a week; I had to take days off and spend a whole week of blindness at home. It was a nightmare.
I was really suffering without realizing how bad this is. I guess that, since it gradually worsens, you get used to the situation and you don’t notice how abnormal this is and how negatively the quality of your life is being affected.
At 31 years old I started to seriously think of the operation and I started my research. I spent so many nights browsing the internet, educating myself about my condition and about the different procedures that are available nowadays. I was, as well, very concerned about the Dr I should trust to give him the right to even touch my eyes. I mean these are MY eyes, a part of me, God’s gift. I can not allow just anyone to mess them up. I have only 2. I was willing to go to the other end of the earth just to get the best Dr to operate on my eyes.
I also read about the techniques, the stitches (sutures), the quality of the donor’s cornea, other patients’ reviews, the latest machines used for the procedure…etc. I had to know everything before I take that step. (well, I guess I ended up studying some ophthalmology on my own using the internet at the age of 31 🙂 )
Anyhow, my Drs here told me that due to scarring, I cannot go for DALK on my right eye and PK is my only option.
I was very disappointed: I was hoping for a DALK as the recovery is faster, the rejection risk is less and since you get to keep your own endothelium and Descemets membrane, the eye is stronger in case of a future trauma. I am not saying PK is not good, but if you have the option, DALK is always better.
Another thing I was hoping for is to go for a procedure using the Femtosecond Laser, as logically speaking, cutting a part of your cornea and the donor’s cornea using the laser and according to exactly the same measurements is much more precise and accurate than cutting it using anything else. I mean the machine is obviously more precise than the human’s hand – no matter how good the dr is. I also read about how the Femtosecond reduces the damage that would happen to the surrounding tissues when replacing your cornea.
Following my research about the procedure, I started looking for the best doctors that would perform DALKs and PKs using the Femtosecond laser. First in the Middle East, then in Europe and last in USA.
I was looking as well for a Dr who does this combination frequently: i.e being experienced specifically in this procedure (not in Ophthalmology in general, this is something else!), is very important. Like at any work for example, the more you do a certain task, the faster you become and the less mistakes you do; Repetition = Mastering = accuracy. I remember that once, I came across something (not sure if article or interview) they were saying, If you are considering a transplant, just try to get a Dr who does this procedure at least 25 times a year. They are right. It is very important to know how frequent your dr does this procedure per year.
I am a perfectionist and a demanding person especially when it comes to health care; Centre Of Sight provided me with what I needed.
From my end, I was lucky to come across Centre for Sight. I checked the success rates they have. I read a lot about Mr Daya. I asked my Drs here about him. I watched his interviews, read his articles, I even studied his body language when speaking. I noticed how confident, knowledgeable and passionate about his work he is. I thought: Oh my, the guy knows what he is talking about. I sent him an email and to my surprise, I got an instant reply! What?! a fast response? from a Dr?! This is something.
I provided Mr Daya with some ophthalmic info and got an appointment for Feb. 2012.
I just would like to mention here, that the admin ladies are so friendly, helpful and professional. I was impressed with the fast response I got from them as well.
Anyhow, I had my appointment scheduled for the 20th of Feb. and in case the procedure is needed, we will go for it on the 22nd of Feb..It is advisable that I stay in UK for 3 weeks post procedure.
London is not close to where I live: 7 hours by plane. I needed to arrange for so many things: finding care for my son in my absence, arranging for the flights, the accommodation, visa, work leave, financials…etc. so many arrangements. But as I previously stated, It is my eye we are talking about and it is worth it! I did all that.
On the 20th I reached Centre for Sight. Everybody was warm and welcoming. Everybody knows what their role is and does it perfectly. You just feel that you are in good hands.
We went for the tests, you cannot but notice how new and updated the machines are. I visited so many eye dr.s but at Centre for Sight I saw the latest technologies. This is very important.
I met Mr Daya, not only he is knowledgeable, but also very “down to earth” (I cannot stand arrogant Drs and thanks God he is not one!), he gives you his time, explains the procedure and answers all your questions. He checked my eyes and…..we will attempt for the DALK!! Whoa…I was so surprised, as I previously stated, my other Drs told me no way to go for the DALK.
Day of the procedure: I was put under local anesthesia and sedation. I felt nothing during the operation except slight pressure (no Pain whatsoever). Mr Daya performed a successful Femtosecond DALK on my right eye. (The PK was not needed). Postop, I felt some discomfort (not pain), I took some pain killers which did the trick.
They gave me a phone no. I can call 24/7 in case I feel anything unusual. I remember that 3 days postop, i felt like sand in my eyes and it was around 8:00 PM, although this is considered normal after this kind of Ops, and although the Centre was about to close, they asked me to drop by. They stayed and checked my eye. (Dr Khan was there and he is the one who checked my eye that night. He is very knowledgeable, reassuring, confident and friendly as well. I left happy).
Everybody who checked my eye was amazed with how my vision restored. They told me that other people need much more time to get such a vision postop. You can barely see any scars left as well (just a faded wrinkle). Mr Daya did a wonderful job! After coming back to my country, all the Drs who checked my eye, could not believe the results. I, myself, cannot believe that I am able to see. Now my vision is 6/12 and I am just 2 months Postop. I am now able to see unaided with my operated eye, better than what I can see with my right eye with lens. Why did I wait for so long before taking this step? I regret being so hesitant, I missed on so many things the last few years before the operation. And to anyone who has been advised to go for this procedure: do not waste time, just make sure you are in good hands and go for it.
What is worth mentioning to is that, after leaving UK and coming back to my country of residence, we had a bad dust storm which negatively affected my eye. I was in contact with Mr Daya through emails. He never left me on my own, always advising me and directing me on what to do, whom to see, what to take…etc. It is not that he did the work, took the fees and gone. This is very important.
I feel so grateful and I thank God every minute for guiding me and helping me through this. I cannot thank Mr Daya and the Donor enough for what they did. They changed my life!
Now, I am looking forward to fix my left eye as well, maybe in one or two years, and when that time comes no one will operate on my eye but Mr Daya of course.
Thank you Mr Daya, Thank you Centre for Sight.