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Synalar (Fluocinolone)

Bernice Pherigo of Columbus, Indiana, blind for forty-two years, could see again because of an unusual device like a telescope that passes images through a hole in her eyelid to her retina. The device is a Teflon disc in an optical cylinder – a lens developed in the early 1970s by Hernando Cardona, M.D., an ophthalmologist on the staff of Columbia University.
In the fall of 1977, the patient, who was then sixty-five years old, had the lens implanted into her right eye by Frank Polak, M.D. of the Florida Health Center’s Eye Clinic in Gainesville, Florida. The woman had lost her vision in both eyes when she was in her twenties because of a disease called ocular pemphigus. The disease causes blisters and scars on the outer surface of the eye. In Miss Pherigo’s case, the scar tissue was removed several times in surgery but continued to grow back. Her vision deteriorated to the point where she could only distinguish between light and darkness.
All that is changed today, for the combination of eye surgery and corrective lenses has Miss Pherigo seeing again. Over the past few years the woman has been getting acquainted with a technological phenomenon that passed her by in her forty-year period without sight. Now she’s watching movements on a television screen. There are worlds of small joys such as colors, and the look of furniture in her apartment that she has been experiencing. The vision in Bernice Pherigo’s right eye is about 20-40 now. She can read large-print magazines and newspapers, and eyeglasses have been added to improve her vision of faraway objects.
Working like a fixed-focus camera, the lens in Bernice’s eye receives light and transmits it to the eye’s retina, where the image is recorded. The patient’s upper and lower eyelids have been permanently stitched together and the lens protrudes through a hole in the eyelid. There is no peripheral vision, but Miss Pherigo can move the cylinder with muscles that normally open and close the eyelid.
Cases such as this of Bernice Pherigo are highly dramatic applications of lenses used to restore sight. Those few blind people who have normal retinas and whose corneal damage cannot be repaired by cornea transplant can benefit from a lens implantation. Other people not requiring such dramatic restoration wear ordinary eyeglasses to preserve and enhance the vision that they possess.

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