My Vision Problems from Blindness to Reading the Newspaper

Prior to the past two years, my vision had always been 20/20 or better. On a trip to Biloxi, MS, July 3rd, 2003, my right eye was unusually sensitive to sunlight, and I was unable to drive without sunglasses. The next day I could hardly tolerate the sunlight on the beach, even wearing sunglasses.

After returning to Baton Rouge, both eyes began to blur, and deteriorated progressively. I thought I needed glasses. The doctor that checked my eyes said I had glaucoma, and referred me to an ophthalmologist who tried eye drops, with no success. He referred me to Dr. Tim Johnson, a glaucoma specialist. I was now legally blind in both eyes. Dr. Johnson did laser surgery, installed glaucoma valves, and performed cataract surgery on both eyes. He was also treating the eyes for iritis/uveitis. The vitreous in both eyes was too cloudy for him to see the retina plainly, so he referred me to a retina specialist.

The specialist said he would do a vitrectomy on my right eye if Dr. Johnson would “hold his hand” during surgery, but the surgery would probably leave me blind. He said he would not operate on my left eye under any circumstance. I had given up; I was ready for the surgery on the right eye; after all, I was already blind. My wife, Betti, asked if he minded if we got a second opinion; he said he recommended it. I didn’t want to bother, operate and get it over with.

Betti prodded me into seeing Dr. Stephen Foster. After the exams were completed, Dr. Foster conferred with Betti and I, and said he had some hope for restoring at least a little vision in my right eye, but little hope for the left. I asked if he could do surgery on my left. He replied “Yes, it’s a relatively simple operation”. I had total confidence in Dr. Foster’s abilities after the discussion. I had him do a vitrectomy on both eyes, and together with medication that he prescribed, began to see a gradual improvement in my vision. I began working again without any problem, doing data reduction, interpretation, and report writing for Hazard Surveys for offshore drilling and construction projects on February 29, 2005. My best vision is now in my left eye. Don’t give up. The next procedure may be the one that restores your vision.

Bob Giles

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