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Heather R. Breaux BLOG

By Heather R. Breaux -   Aug 16, 2007

A trip to the mall or a stroll through the New Orleans French Market all seem like ideal day trips, but a few days ago I went shopping for something that will literally change my life forever - a new eye.

As most of you know, I was on medical leave for the better half of June due to must-have eye surgery needed to repair the retina in my right eye after it detached from the optic nerve, but what you probably donít know is that the surgery failed, the retina is detached again and I am now closer to losing my eye than ever before.

When a retina is not connected to the eyeís optic nerve, it loses its ability to transmit what the lens sees to the brain, therefore resulting in the loss of vision and the eye begins to shrink.

As Iíve written previously, I had surgery at three months old to remove a cataract that I was born with.

Because I was so young, the majority of my lens had to be removed and I was left with only five to ten percent peripheral vision.

In my case, reattaching the retina isnít necessary to regain sight, but is needed to stop the eye from shrinking.

My ophlamalogists recommend that I try the surgery one more time, but I am hesitant to put myself through the pain and agony again to save an eye that is almost completely blind and that has already shriveled down to one half the size of my left eye.

So, I scheduled a consultation with a highly recommended ocularist who designs prothestic eyes to educate myself on what life without two real eyes will be like.

I was quite nervous before the visit, not knowing what to expect, but after my mom and I made our way through the hundreds of one-way New Orleans streets and to the twentieth floor of of a building on the corner of South Rampart and Common Street, I began to feel more comfortable.

After my arrival, I was seated in a room that had a ceiling-to-floor window with a view of the entire city including the Mississippi River and the French Quarter.

As we waited my mom and I looked with extreme curiosity at the photos on the wall of previous patients who are now the owners of prothestic eyes and at the numerous framed articles that had been written about the ocular artist.

When Dr. David Wyatt entered the room, I felt even more at ease, especially after he told me that he wears a prothestic eye.

There are only 140 doctors in the country who are ocularists and Wyatt is the only one in the southeast who wears an artificial eye.

He displayed for us the different types of protheses and said that I was a perfect candidate for the scleral shell, which is like a giant contact lens made out of acryllic that would be made to fit over my existing shrinking eye.

These shells are hand painted to be almost a perfect match with the other eye and only require two office visits a year for cleaning and repolishing.

After the consultation I decided that more than likely I will have to go through with the retina surgery and then get a prosthetic.

In my case, if I donít get the retina reattached then the eye will continually get smaller and the prothesic will have no support.

There have been many sleepless nights leading up to me having to make a decision, but after learning that there are so many people in the world who are in my shoes, I feel better about the situation and look forward to just getting my life back to normal.

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