Help Matt Keep his Eyesight

Progressive Kerataconus - is a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the typically round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins and weakens, causing the development of a cone-like bulge and optical irregularity of the cornea. This causes ‘static’ in your vision and can result in significant visual loss and may lead to corneal transplant in severe cases

My husband has been dealing with this for several years and over time his eyesight has become increasingly worse.  After years of research and non-surgical attempts to better his eyesight, he can no longer wear glasses to improve his vision. He was provided with Scleral Lenses that reshaped his corneas to give him optimal vision, however, as you know, he can not deploy wearing contacts; and his vision will continue to worsen over time. 

Several Years ago an opthamologist at Fort Bliss informed hm about a procedure called Corneal Crosslinking that was used in the UK but had not yet been FDA approved here in the US. Recently it was; however, Tricare Does Not cover it. The other option is a Corneal transplant, which has several issues of its own, infection, donor rejection, and loss of eyesight.  Not to mention, if he do chooses a corneal transplant, he will be automatically discharged from the Army.

For those of you who know him, he has been in the miitary for 15 years and has deployed on several occasions to locations around the globe.  For his last few delployments he was able to wear glasses, but at this time in his health, he is unable to attain anything better than 20/100 in his right eye, and 20/40 in his left eye with the use of glasses. Which could potentially cause a hazard in his line of work as an US ARMY EOD Team Leader (Bomb Tech).

Recently he visited Dr. Frank Bowden of Bowden Eye Associates in Jacksonville, Florida who explained to us, if his eyes are not treated soon, they will continue to  degrade and would not be able to be improved without a corneal transplant. Essentially he explained to us that his vision was going to be impaired to the extent that it could not be fixed at all.   

Dr Bowden explained he could conduct three procedures on his eyes that would give him optimal eyesight and stop the progressive decline in vision. The procedures are as follows:

Astigmatic CK is a procedure  that will reduce astigmatism by applying controlled readiofrequency energy to the cornea to reduce the astigmatism. ($1,895.25 per eye)

INTAC implants are thin plastic, semi-circular rings, which are surgically inserted under the surface of the cornea. When inserted into the keratoconic cornea, they flatten the cornea, changing its shape. The placement of Intacs may reduce corneal irregularities cause by keratoconus. ($7,000.00 per eye)

Corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that combines the use of ultra-violet (UV) light and riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye drops. Photrexa® Viscous (riboflavin 5’-phosphate in 20% dextran ophthalmic solution), Photrexa® (riboflavin 5’-phosphate ophthalmic solution) and the KXL® system are the first and only therapeutic products for corneal cross-linking which have been FDA approved to treat progressive keratoconus. ( $2,600.00 per eye) 

Yeah, thats right, for both eyes, $22, 990.25 dollars is what is going to cost, not including surgical fees, and the procedures we have paid for out of pocket. 

We have attempted to sell his motorcycle but have not been able to do so.  He had reached out to the EOD Warrior Foundation and they are willing to help, it just has to be approved through their boards. And at this time, We have taken out a loan to pay for the right eye, but was unable to get no where near the full amount. 

His first phase has been completed as of last week, and on 29 Nov 17, He  will have the Astigmatic CK procedure completed on the right eye.  On 30 Nov 17, the INTACS will be implanted in the right eye. After the cornea stablizes the final phase which includes the Corneal Crosslinking will be completed. 

As some of you know, he will be pushing out the door again for another deployment soon and in dire need of this procedure so he can deploy and be with his team.  

With your assistance we can get both eyes done and Matt can fulfill his obligtion that he started 15 years ago when he raised his right hand and enlisted in the military. 

Thank you for you help.

Much Love,

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Matthew Baeza 
Allenhurst, GA
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