Here is a great article written by the mother of one of our young patients. She is a true inspiration and a model to others for persevering and overcoming obstacles.
Here is a letter we received from ICAN, an organization that partners with parents and doctors of patients with anophthalmia and microphthalmia to better their lives. What a great project to aid these kids! ICAN can be reached at: http://www.anophthalmia.org.
I am writing to tell you about an exciting project that we are about to undertake which we believe will have great importance to children and families affected by anophthalmia or microphthalmia.
This project will investigate how children with visual impairment develop a sense of their own appearance and body image and what effect this has on their psychosocial development and well-being.
By learning how children with anophthalmia or microphthalmia think about their appearance, parents, caregivers, and educators can hopefully provide better support as these children mature and become more aware about their appearance and what options may realistically be available for improvement in this regard.
In an effort to develop this unique look into the needs of visually impaired children and their families, ICAN has offered to partner with a multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, headed by James A. Katowitz MD, who has been involved in the care of many members of the ICAN family.
We believe that a better understanding of the visually impaired child’s concept of appearance is of critical importance for the psychosocial benefit of each child as well as for his or her entire family. This becomes even more complex given the changes in facial appearance associated with these disorders, whether one or both eyes have been affected. Significant improvement in appearance and of body image will likely help these children to function better in both their personal and professional lives.
We initially plan on working with children between the ages of 8 and 18 years and with at least one of their parents.
Any thoughts you may have will be most appreciated, whatever the age of your child, as your participation can be helpful in many ways.
Please respond to me by email within two weeks at: email@example.com
Tanya Bardakjian , M.S. C.G.C.
Certified Genetics Counselor
Albert Einstein Medical Center
“Eye Power Kids wear creates t-shirts to make patching and glasses fun for kids and adults! We want all kids to be proud to wear glasses and patches because they are all little super heroes. We created Eye Power Kids Wear because of our son Scott who was born with a congenital Cataract. He wears a contact, glasses and patches each day and we want him to grow up a happy little super hero proud of who he is.”
“There are so many kids out there that they hate to patch, and it’s a struggle everyday, and now they want to put on their patch in the morning because their patch gives them ‘superpowers.’”
Eye Power Kids Wear
We are so excited to share this great website with you. I saw my first patient come in 2 weeks ago wearing her eye power t-shirt, she was so brave and so excited! Here is an article about the work Jessica and her company are doing, desert news.
Coating the inner and outer surfaces of the artificial eye is a tear film. People normally blink the eyelids about every six seconds to replenish this tear film. Tears have four main functions on the artificial eye:
- wetting the conjunctival lining of the socket, preventing damage due to dryness,
- creating a smooth optical surface on the front of the microscopically irregular acrylic surface,
- providing lubrication and acting as a vehicle to remove debris from the prosthetic surface, and
- containing an enzyme called “lysozyme” which destroys bacteria.
The tear film resting on the prosthetic surface has three layers:
- Lipid layer,
- Aqueous Layer, and
- Mucin Layer.
The top layer of the tear film is the lipid or oily layer. This layer prevents the aqueous layer beneath it from evaporating, as well as preventing the tears from flowing over the edge of the lower eyelid.
Below the lipid layer is located the aqueous layer of the tear film. This middle layer is the thickest of the three tear layers. The aqueous fluid contains salts, proteins and lysozyme.
The bottom layer is the mucin layer. This layer adheres to the “hydrophobic” (water-repelling) acrylic surface of the prosthesis. Therefore, for a tear layer to be able to remain on the prosthetic surface without rolling off, the “hydrophilic” (water-attracting) mucin layer is necessary.
A deficiency of any of the three layers of the tear film can lead to a “dry eye” condition, causing anything from mild eye irritation to severe pain. Interestingly, in some cases, excessive tearing or watering of the eyes can be a symptom of a dry eye condition. This is because when, for whatever reason, there is an inadequate normal tear layer on the eye, irritation results; the latter causes an overproduction of the lacrimal gland and a flooding of lacrimal fluid into the eye.
Besides excessive tearing, symptoms associated with dry eyes can include the following:
- eye irritation, scratchiness, grittiness, or pain,
- redness of the conjunctival tissue,
- a burning sensation in the eye,
- a feeling of something in the eye,
- eyes that feel “glued shut” after sleeping,
- excess mucosal drainage, and
- discomfort wearing the prosthesis.
There can be multiple causes of a dry eye condition for a prosthetic eye wearer:
- lid or blinking problems,
- reading or working at a computer screen for long periods of time,
- medications like antihistamines, oral contraceptives, beta blockers, diuretics, tranquilizers, pain relievers, or antidepressants,
- a dry climate (including heating and air conditioning in a home, airplane, or hotel room), wind, UV radiation, tobacco smoke, and dust,
- diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, xerophthalmia, lupus erythematosus, Grave’s disease, diabetes, or scleroderma
- hormonal changes accompanying menopause,
- chemical, radiation, or thermal burns to the eye,
- vitamin A deficiency,
- aging, since the tear glands produce fewer tears as we age,
- protein adhesion to prosthetic surface,
- scratches on the prosthetic surface, or
- ill-fitting prosthesis.
A dry eye problem often can be relieved with the use of lubricating eyedrops, which are instilled daily or as needed onto the prostheic surface. These types of drops can soothe the socket, moisturize dry spots, supplement tears, and protect conjunctival tissue from further irritation. They provide comfort and a nice shiny, even tear layer over the prosthesis. They have a higher viscosity than natural tears, so they need to be insilled less frequently, often just once or twice per day. The lubrication allows for easier blinking, less drainage from the socket, and a very natural appearance.
Soothing eye drops are also available. These drops have the same viscosity as natural tears, which means they will not be as long lasting as the lubricants, but they do have soothing properties to control allergies, discomfort, itchiness, inflammation and excess mucosal drainage.
Some patients chose to try “artificial tears” type eyedrops to alleviate the sypmtoms of dry eye. These are not very successful because they do not last very long. Most “artificial tear” drops only contain saline, which evaporates very quickly. Some eyedrops contain “vasoconstrictors” (chemicals such as tetrahydrozaline or naphazoline), which constrict the conjunctival blood vessels, thereby reducing the amount of redness on the surface of the eyes. We do not recommend these drops for prosthetic eye wearers as they damage the tissue lining the anophthalmic socket.
Should you have any difficulty with your current regimine, we recommend working with your Ophthalmologist, Optometrist and your Ocularist to determine the root of your symptoms and come up with an appropriate solution. With a healthy fit of your prosthesis, frequent polishing and proper lubrication, your prosthesis should be able to fit and function well. Our goal is to provide our patients with excellent comfort and cosmesis for the most natural, realistic result possible.
The Seattle Times ran a great article this week about beep baseball for the blind and partially sighted. All participants wear blindfolds to remove any advantage if a participant is partially sighted or legally blind. Beep baseball utilizes sound and commands to aid the players in knowing where the baseball is. The baseball itself emits a loud beep at a regular rate, so it can be heard as it whirls thorough the air. The baseball team is comprised of 6 blind or visually impaired players, a sighted catcher, a sighted pitcher and a sighted spotter to help keep the outfielders safe. What an awesome opportunity, check it out!
“I could have been called the woman who fell through the cracks. I call myself the woman who never quit finding her way. That is my message to all of you. Don’t let anyone write your story for you, no matter who you are or what your disability is. You can’t let others define you. If they must try, make them define you by what you can do, not what you can not do.”
- Nancy Lind
Cerebral Palsy - Blind - Motivational Speaker
PS: Nancy also wanted to share that her eyes are very hyperactive and like to find their ways into interesting environments.
Soothing eye drops can be indispensable for the comfortable wearing of an ocular prosthesis. These drops are not specific to prosthetics, but they work very well to alleviate dry, tired, allergy symptoms.
An anophthalmic socket is similar to a sinus. Often patients report that their sockets react first when they contract a cold or sinus infection. When irritation occurs or when their allergies flare up, soothing eye drops will be very helpful in calming the fragile conjunctival tissue. Ease your discomfort by matching your most common symptoms with the drops below.
Similasan drops have been used by our patients with very good success. These soothing drops provide lubrication and their specific soothing properties. Choose from Dry Eye Relief, Allergy Eye Relief and Computer Eye Relief.
In my very first blog post a few years ago, I wrote on an interesting subject of people’s pets chewing on their prosthetic eyes. Today’s post is similar in some ways, it involves teeth and prosthetic eyes as well. As we all know, kids are prone to put anything into their mouths and chomp on it a bit. Over the years, we have had a few patients chew on their own artificial eyes. Here are some before an after photos of a repair we did recently. I am happy to report that this particular child has grown out of their habit!
It’s April 1st, but there is still some March Madness going on!
This is a repost of a story orignially run by Mike Foss of USA TODAY Sports.
“I guess you could call it glaucoma,” Otule told said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I was born with one eye, actually, and the other one wasn’t fully developed. So I had to get an artificial (left) eye, since I was one or two. And every time I grew out of it, I had to go back to the doctor and they’d make a new one.
“I’ve always had one eye,” Otule said. “It didn’t happen in the middle of my life; I’ve had it since birth. If I hadn’t had it since birth, it would probably be difficult to adjust to. But I’ve always been used to it, since I’ve had it since birth.”
A redshirt senior, Otule has come a long way in his time with the Golden Eagles. He told CBS of the first impression he made on coach Buzz Williams in high school.
“He told me I sucked,” Otule said. “But he said that I would improve at Marquette. That’s how he earned my trust. He was brutally honest.”
Did Williams remember the interaction differently?
“He did suck,” Williams added. “He was a bad player, but we really need a big guy.”
Williams knew of Otule’s ineptitude on the court, but he didn’t know he was blind until the team doctor Ernest Eugene evaluated Otule the summer before his freshman year.
“Coach, you have a few minutes?” Eugene said. “Did you know Chris was blind?”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Williams responded.
That’s when Eugene told Williams about Otule’s glass eye.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Williams said.
Well, now we are all believers.
A few patients have asked me about this case, which was originally declared a mistrial in February. Here is an excerpt from the story by DAVID GAMBACORTA
“NO BODY PARTS came tumbling out, but there was still plenty of drama Wednesday in Common Pleas Court as the aggravated-assault retrial of Matthew Brunelli unfolded.
Prosecutors have accused Brunelli, 23, of punching onetime bouncer John “Big Red” Huttick in the left eye with an object – possibly a car key – outside a Burholme bar on Aug. 18, 2011, leaving Huttick with a gruesome wound that ultimately caused the eyeball to be removed.
A mistrial was granted in February after Huttick’s glass eye shockingly popped out while he wept on the witness stand.”
Read full story here: Philly.com