Seeing is Believing


Carl Chapin (left) with Dr. Bud Kurwa

Carl Chapin looked around the room and literally could not believe his eyes. Especially his right eye in which he had been blind for the last 65 years. He looked around in wonder and tears of joy flowed 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, had been blinded in the right eye since 1941 when a glass bottle cut his eye half open and pretty much destroyed the 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 his one good eye how would he 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 coaxed him to go — at least 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 shows 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 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 astigmatism, Carl went home with a patch on his eye. He lay 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 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.
Speaking of his success to Pakistan Link, Dr Kurwa stated: “The question you asked is an interesting one. What did we do different from all the other doctors this gentleman went to see to allow us to restore his sight. Most doctors assumed it was a bad eye and could not be saved. As you know doctors are busy and don’t have the time to do all the detailed checking or see if the eye is capable of seeing. They assume that it’s been blind for so long, it suffered such a severe injury, it’s probably damaged beyond repair.
“Because we specialize in tough cases that most other doctors don’t want to deal with they often send us the tough cases and I have technology that most doctors don’t want to invest in that allows me to evaluate the potential for vision with sophisticated instrumentation such as the Ultrasound B scan, the corneal topographer, and the Potential Acuity Meter. If one takes the time and trouble to evaluate the eye carefully one can tell what is the potential capability for vision.
“This is exactly what we did for Mr. Chapin. We did not just assume he was blind to save ourselves some effort. Every test was performed to see what was the potential for vision with that eye. I was pleased to see that he was not totally blind and behind the scar tissue and the cataract the eye was capable of seeing. So I said a prayer and did the surgery and MashaAllah we were successful with God's Grace. So essentially one has to be prepared to go the extra mile and see and do a more thorough evaluation to see what the patient can benefit from and we believe we spare no effort in getting the best vision for the patient even when it looks hopeless.”

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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