Few understand the phrase “life can change in the blink of an eye” in quite the way that 20-year old Jeremy Poincenot understands it. Last year, Jeremy was walking to class at San Diego State University when he noticed that the vision in his left eye was a little blurry. It persisted, but he thought little of it and eventually he headed home for the Thanksgiving break. He mentioned the blurry vision to his mom, Lissa, and she made an appointment to get her son tested. Life for Jeremy would never be the same again.
The Webber family’s difficult odyssey began with the flash of a camera last summer. It was a typical vacation shot, a photo taken of Megan Webber’s five-year-old son Benjamin by his aunt. But the results were far from ordinary. The picture of Benjamin and his mom went to the family pediatrician who referred them to a top pediatric ophthalmologist in the area. She placed a call and they asked her to come to the office immediately. She rushed her son in, and a scan revealed a large white mass in Benjamin’s eye. They were referred again – this time to Doheny faculty. (more…)
“At first I had no idea there was anything wrong with my baby,” said Linette Mahan of her month-old daughter Zoe. “Her eyes had an unusual, electric blue appearance that I thought was quite pretty.”
She soon learned, however, that the effect was caused by a clouding of the cornea, the window that lets light into the eye and permits visual information to travel to the brain. Unfortunately for infants born with corneal disease, that window could be blocked forever. New corneas for Zoe’s tiny eyes could be the best hope for healthy vision.
Not many eleven-year-olds enjoy wearing glasses. Joana Valadez, a current Doheny patient, is among the group who isn’t quite thrilled about it. Which is certainly understandable. When she mentioned this recently, her father, Guillermo Valadez, smiled. Considering his daughter’s recent ordeal, it was clear that Mr. Valadez knew that glasses are an absolutely wonderful outcome. To hear Joana speak glowingly of her Doheny doctors and the nurses and staff who have contributed to her care, we are sure she understands this, too.
At 19 years of age, Chelsea Schutt has undergone 19 major eye surgeries. Number 20 is just around the corner. In one year alone, Chelsea had 85 doctor’s appointments. She suffers severe eye pain, migraine headaches, nausea and the threat of complete blindness, just about every day. It is a testament to her strength, to her raw courage and determination, that, on a recent phone interview, she sounded just like a happy, motivated college student on the verge of success. That’s because she is.