93 postsback to top
Posted almost 6 years ago
Christchurch electrician Grant Hawkins had just finished breakfast when he lost the sight in his left eye.
"It was like a piece of white A4 paper being held in front of my eye. I could see a little bit of light, but I couldn't make out any shapes," he said.
Hawkins rushed to his doctor, who diagnosed a rare condition where a small piece of cholesterol travels behind the eye, starving the retina of oxygen.
"My doctor told me the condition was usually permanent, which was pretty scary stuff," Hawkins said of the October health scare.
Luckily for Hawkins, an inventive group of Christchurch Hospital medics has been trialling the use of the dive, or hyperbaric chamber to treat his condition.
Hyperbaric unit doctor Steve Berrill said approval was recently given for dive-chamber research.
Usually the unit was used to treat divers with the bends or people with carbon monoxide poisoning, Berrill said.
However, international studies had shown the chamber could be used in the treatment of specific eye conditions, he said.
"It's really good. We've had a bit of success with people like Grant."
Berrill said when a fleck of cholesterol lodged behind the retina, it starved it of oxygen.
The damage would be permanent if the retina was starved of oxygen for longer than six hours, he said.
In the research trials, patients with this condition, which typically affects about 10 South Islanders a year, were placed in the dive chamber and intense levels of oxygen fed into their retina, Berrill said.
Using the dive had resulted in half the patients having their vision restored to the same levels as before, he said.
Hawkins has gone from not being able to make out the door the eye chart hung on, to having 20/20 vision after seven sessions in the dive chamber.
"It's not a miracle cure in all cases, but it certainly has been working well for us so far," Berrill said.
5939 postsback to top
| Posted almost 6 years ago
the patient just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right medical staff to help him. it's amazing what can be done in this day and age.