Mr. Malith De Silva.
Hi! I am Malith De Silva, 26 years by this November (2016) and a recent graduate of Sociology and Social work from the University of Colombo .i am writing this brief article, with the hope that my experience with SJS (Steven-Johnson Syndrome) and severe dry eye condition would benefit another who suffers as I did.
If you ask me what caused the SJS and the dry eye condition, the only honest answer I can give is “I don’t know”. All I know is that I went to the so called “Army training programme” for the university students, the very first one in 2011 and within three days I got the syndrome. After staying months in multiple hospitals including Boossa Navy Hospital, Karapitiya Hospital (A hell hole:personal opinion), the National hospital and the eye hospital I finally came over it. I am eternally grateful to eye surgeon Mrs. Manel Pasquel for saving my sight after a tiresome battle with the SJS.I was told that I am so lucky, as SJS rarely leaves its victims alive, most loose their sight permanently due to SJS.
However I was left with a permanent case of severe dry eye as my tear producing glands had permanently fail due to the impact of the disease. I had to use artificial tears, the “Tears Naturale II” as a substitute. To be honest the tears Naturale did a good job in keeping my eyes moist and functioning.
But it failed to keep up with the heavy work load that I had to do as an university academic. Multiple hours spent at the library researching and working on assignments, playing sports and spending hours in front of the computer was too much for the artificial tears. At the end of every assignment, every long study sessions and exam I would suffer from severe dry eye that lasts for days. Making me spend more money on consultations and other expensive drugs such as “Restatsis”.I am not going to explain how painful the dry eye condition is, as it is so difficult to put in to words. If you have ever suffered from the conjunctivites or as we say “AS LEDA” imagine that painful sensation as having a sand grain inside the eye and then multiply it by thousand times that’s how I felt. Expenses apart these dry eye spells interrupted my university life as well as personal life. First year alone I lost about half of my academic days due to it.
I went through this relentless cycle of pain for four years until, my then eye surgeon Mrs. Manel Pasquel suggested that I consult corneal surgeon Lasitha Jayasinghe. He suggested the use of scleral lenses as he noticed that my cornea has got damaged due to the spells of dry eye and if the condition worsens that might cost me my sight.
This is when I met Mr. Kenneth of EYE 2 EYE Opticians, Kalubowila. I spend four hours with him the very first day for the tests and putting on the trial lenses was not easy. It is only after wasting multiple tubes of expensive saline and dropping the lenses twice that I succeeded in finally getting it in. Mr. Kenneth endured these mishaps and endless questions with almost inhuman patience.
The very first time I wore the lenses I immediately felt a soothing sensation in my eyes and as for my vision the lenses have improved the clarity and detail in vision by many folds. They have allowed me to function almost to the level that I was prior to the SJS. Recently I successfully completed my dissertation that comprised of a 25,000 words. It involved endless hours of typing and referencing as well as few sleepless nights. Without the scleral lenses doing such a thing would be impossible for me.
Also I must mention the impeccable after service Mr. Kenneth provided for me. The original lenses had a small measurement error and as the first lens exchange is completely free Mr. .Kenneth wanted me to come for a re-examination in order to get the new lenses. But I failed to do so promptly as I was stuck with multiple obligations. I returned for the examination after two months and by then the warranty period of the lenses had expired. But Mr. Kenneth very kindly arranged for a free replacement after consulting with the manufacturers of the lenses. I am grateful to Mr. Kenneth for the service he provided me as it has changed my life.
Using scleral lenses have changed my life completely, Now I do not experience any of the dry eye symptoms and live an almost normal life. I hope that my experience would serve someone else with similar problems and would help them to improve their situation.
Malith De Silva