After having vision correction surgery, Jeff found himself with rare complications of extreme light sensitivity, headaches, and corneal pain. His eyes also became so chronically dry that he actually wore swim goggles to help keep moisture in. Jeff’s set of complications led to a diagnosis of corneal neuralgia.
What is Corneal Neuralgia?
Corneal neuralgia is defined as pain in the cornea that results from nerve dysfunction, due to damaged nerve fibers. It can cause a burning or stinging sensation, or ache. Corneal neuralgia may be the result of inflammatory or neurological disease, or may occur as a rare post-procedure complication of eye surgery, such as LASIK. A few other facts about corneal neuralgia and corneal pain:
- It’s estimated that the pain receptors in the cornea are 40 times more dense even than dental pulp, making the cornea potentially the most powerful pain generator in the human body.
- In mild cases, the symptoms of corneal neuralgia may be close or identical to dry eye.
- Unexplained corneal pain may stump some doctors, especially when the discomfort doesn’t get better with treatment for dry eye.
- Sufferers may be extremely sensitive to evaporation, dry environments, or wind.
- The pain of corneal neuralgia may be severe and unrelenting, and many can’t look at a computer screen without intense pain.
The pain can be severe enough to become incapacitating. This is what happened to Jeff.
“I didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I was wearing 3 pairs of glasses stacked on top of each other when I went outside. For months I sat in a dark corner and listened to audiobooks as I navigated the perils of eye pain, photophobia, and dryness.”
For 6 months after surgery, Jeff couldn’t watch TV and or spend much time looking at a computer or phone screen, due to his corneal neuralgia. As a huge football fan, Jeff became very discouraged at not being able to watch sports. But that wasn’t the only thing he missed out on.
“Eventually I lost my job because my eyes were too dry to travel on airplanes or work on the computer for long periods of time…These were things I never thought I would do again.”
Jeff’s condition also kept him from living his previously active lifestyle. “I live in a windy desert climate where outdoor training would be nearly impossible for someone like me… Since I had been so disabled I was a shell of the person I once was. I had lost weight, had hardly any muscle tone, and very little strength from sitting all day long in pain.”
Recovering from Corneal Neuralgia
At his lowest point, Jeff began researching post-LASIK eye dryness, photophobia, and eye pain. He read about how a world renowned ophthalmologist named Dr. Pedram Hamrah was successfully treating people like him.
“Eventually a Go Fund Me was started, and I had received enough money to travel to Boston where [Dr. Hamrah] studies corneal nerve pain and eye dryness. While there, he mentioned that their clinic had been doing studies of various lenses and that Axon Optics was producing a type of lens that was helping his patients. I decided to give the company a try.”
Jeff says his relief was immediate. “The lens technology, paired with the wrap design, was exactly what I needed. I stopped utilizing 3 pairs of sunglasses and only needed to use the one.”
When Jeff started wearing Axon Optics indoor lenses and wraps, he began to slowly work his way up to using a computer for long periods of time, which allowed him to go back to full-time employment and watching sports. He also built the confidence he needed to venture outside again. With the added help of medication, artificial tears, and a tight fitting lanyard, Jeff was able to resume normal activities he hadn’t been able to do since his surgery. For Jeff, this means hiking, biking, working out, and backpacking trips. But there’s more.
“I tried running outside with my wraps on one evening in the spring and was amazed that I was able to do this. Each day I ran a little harder and a little further until I beat my best pre-eye surgery 5k time… I realized I needed to set health goals and share my story in order to help others with my condition. That is when I decided to compete in obstacle course races with the hopes of being on American Ninja Warrior. So far, the wraps have allowed me to meet all my goal benchmarks and more. While wearing them I am able to trail run, hike, and exercise in difficult conditions, something I lost the ability to do post surgery.”
Jeff uses Axon Optics indoor lenses for using the computer, smart phone, and watching TV.
For working out indoors, he uses the Wrap Cs. When training or exercising outside, he wears the Wrap Cs with the outdoor lens.
“These glasses are everything to me. I use them 90% of my day, and with a tightened eyeglass band I am now running outside again…I actually set a new personal best last week. It’s a miracle considering 8 months ago I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to go outside for long again. The glasses are a huge part of the reason I’ve been able to become active again!! I’m now training in these glasses for American Ninja Warrior!!!…Honestly, I would have never started training if it weren’t for the wraps.”
Thank you, Jeff, for sharing your story in order to help others who have similar struggles. If Axon Optics lenses have helped you in your struggle with Corneal Neuralgia or other conditions, please send an email to [email protected]