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Feb 19

Restored vision after 65 years

Restored vision after 65 years

Story By Dr. Bud Kurwa

Carl Chapin looked around the room and literally could not believe his eyes, especially his right eye, which has been blind for the last 65 years. He looked around in wonder and tears of joy flowed freely as he gave his eye surgeon, Dr. Bud Kurwa, a grateful hug for performing a virtual miracle with the help of the latest technology in eye surgery at the Foothill Presbyterian Hospital in Glendora.

Carl, 71, has been blind in his right eye since 1941 when a glass bottle cut his eye half open and pretty much destroyed his vision. In the years to come he went to see practically every eye doctor in town and got the same depressing answer, “This eye is blind and will never see again.” Having pretty much resigned himself to his fate, Carl was living his life as a one-eyed man. He stayed awake nights wondering if he ever lost that eye how he would manage. Sixty-five years later, one day, a friend mentioned to him about the quiet miracles Dr. Kurwa was crafting with the help of the latest technology at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital. He cajoled him to go—at least to get a second opinion (more like a 22nd opinion) from Dr. Kurwa.

Dr. Kurwa was very conservative and said it looked pretty hopeless, but if he was willing to try, he would give it his best shot. With some sophisticated tests that no one had ever performed before on him, Dr. Kurwa said the PAM test was positive, the corneal topography showed the scar tissue could be corrected and there was potentially good vision in the seemingly blind eye. Tongue in cheek, Dr. Kurwa said the PAM test showed a capacity for about 20/60 vision if all went well using the high tech equipment for surgery at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital. Carl’s eyes lit up with hope and he said “Let’s do it today.” 20/60 vision was way better than the blindness that he had lived with all these years.

On September 12 and two hours of intricate surgery later, including removal of the injured cataract, a lens implant, removal of scar tissue, repair of the torn iris and correction of an astigmatism, Carl went home with a patch on his eye. He laid awake most of the night and prayed for a miracle. He was bright and early at Dr. Kurwa’s office the next morning waiting impatiently to get his patch off.

He looked around the room in disbelief. The patch had just come off and he kept closing the good eye to make sure he was not imagining this. The colors were so bright they dazzled him, he kept looking to make sure that it was not a mirage and that his vision would not suddenly go dark on him. This was truly a miracle. God had answered his prayers today. Thanks to Dr. Kurwa and the amazing technology at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital! On October 3, less than 1 month after surgery, Carl was seeing 20/30 with this eye.

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