Wyatt's Eye Surgery Expenses

In 2016, the Baptiste family began a journey that no parent ever expects or can ever plan to find themselves.  Like many parents, they brought their two young sons to the eye doctor for routine eye exams before the start of the school year.  The optometrist found what appeared to be a mass in Wyatt’s right eye and suggested that he be seen by a specialist at Children’s Hospital.  He was only 2 ½ years old at that time.  Following an exam at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, the family was referred to a retina specialist with L.S.U. Eye Center in New Orleans.  Wyatt was diagnosed with an extremely rare condition called coloboma of the optic nerve.  Coloboma of the optic nerve is a congenital condition in which the optic nerve does not form completely causing abnormalities in the eye that can lead to retinal detachments and vision impairment.  In Wyatt’s case, both of his eyes have the colobomas and retinal detachments.   The colobomas also fill with fluid causing increased pressure in his eyes.

                In late 2016, Wyatt underwent a surgical procedure to drain the fluid in an attempt that draining it would alleviate the pressure and the hole would potentially seal at the back of the eye.  At a follow-up appointment, it was determined that the fluid was returning; so, Wyatt was placed on medications to try controlling the fluid.  By the spring of 2017, the medications were not making enough impact on the fluid; so, the Baptiste family was referred to a retina specialist in Houston, TX.

                In the summer of 2017, after obtaining approvals from the insurance company to see a doctor out of the state, Wyatt and his parents finally met the specialist in Houston.  Upon his examination of Wyatt’s eyes, it became evident that the situation is much more serious than first thought.  Dr. E. Chang of Retina & Vitreous of Texas was and is able to scan Wyatt’s eyes with more detail and accuracy than had been done previously.  He specializes in vitreoretinal diseases in adults and children.  After the scans were done in Houston, it became obvious that Wyatt’s right eye had a critical retinal detachment, and the vision in that eye had already deteriorated significantly.  The left eye had been functioning for both eyes at that time.  Although it also has a retinal detachment, the left eye is not severe and can be treated after the right eye has been taken care of.  The right eye had to be treated as soon as possible.

The condition is so rare that there are only 10 doctors in the country who have ever performed this type of surgery on young children and the success rate is unknown.  A first surgery to reattach the retina in the right eye was done on December 1, 2017.  That particular procedure involved multiple appointments because Wyatt’s eye needed to be injected with a special medication two weeks prior to surgery.  Because the doctor is not only out-of-network, but also out of the state, there are high costs accumulating for Wyatt’s care.  Each office visit to the doctor in Houston cost several hundreds of dollars plus travel costs incurred.  The procedure will be performed in an outpatient surgical center, and then Wyatt will have to return for a checkup the next day.  At the two week follow-up, the progress looked good.  However, when we returned to Houston at six weeks post surgery, we were dealt a tremendous blow when the scans show that the retina was detaching as the gas bubble in the eye dissolved.  A second surgery was immediately scheduled for the following week. 

During this last surgery, an oil bubble was placed in Wyatt’s eye to allow the retina a longer healing time.  It was also discovered during the surgery that the lens of his right eyes was too cloudy to be able to see through it; so it was surgically removed.  For now, the oil acts as a lens for Wyatt to have some vision through that eye.  Once the retina heals, there will be a decision to be made as to how to proceed with replacing the faulty lens.  Wyatt has had two post op visits so far and is scheduled for another in early March.  It is likely that he will have return visits every 4 to 6 months for monitoring.

Because this condition is an abnormality in the way that the optic nerve and eye have formed, there is no cure or permanent fix.  Dr. Chang has told the family to prepare for the possibility of a lifetime of repeated surgeries and also for the possibility that Wyatt could lose some, if not all, of his vision.    

As of now, the medical bills for the injection procedure and first surgery have come in totaling about $17,000 and  $28,000 respectively.  The travel and lodging have added up on top of these costs as well.  The second surgery may be between $30,000 to $35,000 in addition to these, but it they won’t know until his post-op appointments are completed.

Please help by donating to this family in need.  Any amount will make a difference.  They are facing this immediate need for his right eye and then will be faced with procedures for the left eye.

Donations (41)

  • Anonymous
    • $350 
    • 5 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Darcey Delatte
Laplace, LA
Carlita Coleman

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