In April 2014, Doug Bruggeman of Centerville, Ohio began to experience severe pain and redness in his eye under his contact lenses. He starting going to his local ophthalmologist, but the condition never improved. Finally, he was referred to Andrew Hendershot, MD at Ohio State for what turned out to be a corneal ulcer caused by a fungal infection.
“I think that when a patient has a serious eye problem, such as a severe infection, it is important to be up front and honest with them,” said Dr. Hendershot. “This helps get them on board with a potentially intense treatment plan. It also helps to set a realistic goal for the long term outcome so that everyone is on the same page right from the start.”
It took almost 3 months with Bruggeman traveling back and forth from Centerville, over an hour each way, but, the real difficulty came when his condition reached a scary crossroads.
“It was one of those ‘eye-opening’ experiences,” said Bruggeman. “My cornea had gotten so thin from the infection that they were afraid that it would rupture and I would lose all vision in that eye. There were a couple of terrifying days where I had to decide if I should have partial corneal transplant or not.”
During that week, he traveled to Ohio State almost daily, so Dr. Hendershot could keep monitoring his cornea. After consulting with Dr. Hendershot, Bruggeman ultimately decided not to get the transplant.
“I still have a scar in my eye,” said Bruggeman, “but Dr. Hendershot told me I’d have one from the first day that I saw him, it was just a matter of how severe. He never over-promised. I would chuckle to myself because he would say something like, ‘I think that there is a decent chance that you will have reasonable vision in that eye.’ And, he was right. I have 20/30 with correction, nearly perfect. So, I would strongly recommend Dr. Hendershot to anyone. His patient care and bedside manner were great. I couldn’t have been happier.”
In a recent letter, Bruggeman expressed his gratitude: “I wanted to thank you for the great care you gave me while I was going through my cornea ulcer. I have not missed the trips to Columbus but feel I am missing a friend after all the times we visited. You were always willing to go the extra step for me and I truly appreciate that.”