1. Home
  2. ‘That’s a good story’
‘That’s a good story’

‘That’s a good story’

  • October 9, 2021

A simple visit to the ophthalmologist turned out to be a sight saving experience for Myron “Mike” Mast.

He stopped by his ophthalmologist to adjust his glasses. And while he was there, he asked if the doctor could look at his left eye.

Although Mike hadn’t been injured, “his eye looked like I’d been hit,” he said. “It looked a little red in different parts of the eye. I had a small bruise around my eye. ”

His question led to tests and eventually brain surgery Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital.

“If the problem lasted much longer, it would be very likely that he would have suffered irreparable damage,” said the neurosurgeon at Spectrum Health Justin Singer, MD, called. “We are definitely glad that we could help him.”

Pressure builds up

Mike, a retired 80-year-old professor from Grand Valley State University, wasn’t too concerned when he first noticed swelling and irritation in his left eye in November 2020. He felt no pain. And at first the swelling did not affect his eyesight.

But he is glad that he made his ophthalmologist aware Joseph Morehouse, DO, during his visit to Grand Rapids Ophthalmology in November 2020.

The irritation in his eye seemed unusual, said Dr. Morehouse. Mike also had a troubling history of falls.

Half a year earlier he fell on his front steps at home. And in 2017, he fell painting the roof of a house, causing injuries that required hospitalization and inpatient rehab.

Dr. Morehouse ordered a CT scan to examine Mike’s eye.

The scan found that an ocular vein that drains blood from the eye had dilated.

Dr. Morehouse ordered CT angiography to examine the blood vessels.

The scan found an abnormal connection between the vein and an artery that caused pressure to build up behind his eye.

When he saw Mike just a week after the first visit, Dr. Morehouse saw that his condition had worsened.

Mike’s eye had turned redder and was now sticking out of the socket. He also had double vision.

Dr. Morehouse referred Mike Spectrum Health Neurosurgery Specialists.

A difficult place to get to

“His problem was called a carotid cavernous fistula,” said Dr. Singer. “It can cause the pressure in the eye to rise abnormally, which can lead to blindness and permanent eye damage.”

The condition can be caused by trauma, such as a fall, although it usually occurs shortly before the injury. It can also be present from birth.

“The problem can be difficult to treat,” said Dr. Singer.

To repair it, interventional neurosurgeons insert a catheter into a vein, usually in the leg or wrist, and follow the vein to the fistula behind the eye.

But often the vein is difficult to navigate – and that was the case with Mike.

Instead, Dr. Singer took a more unusual approach – he went through Mike’s eye to reach the vein.

Using a special x-ray, he placed a needle under the bony edge of his eyebrow to reach the sinuses.

He inserted a catheter into the vein – a tube less than half an inch wide. And through that catheter, he placed coils that blocked blood flow from the artery to the sinus area.

Immediately after the procedure, the pressure in Mike’s sinuses began to drop.

“I probably handle a few of these cases a year,” said Dr. Singer. “This was only the second time in the last five years that I had to approach someone through the eyeball.”

“I was really relieved”

Mike recovered from the surgery, the swelling in his eye disappeared and his eyesight returned to normal.

He appreciates having both eyes in order – for reading, watching TV and all the zoom conversations with his sons and grandchildren.

“I was really relieved when everything turned out fine,” he says.

As a social scientist, he values ​​the research behind innovative treatment methods such as Dr. Singer.

He hopes that the experience he gained from his operation will help other patients.

“It’s interesting to see the medical profession keep finding new ways to do things,” he said.

“The window to the body”

For Mike’s doctors, his recovery shows the importance of taking care of your eyes.

“People usually trivialize changes in vision,” said Dr. Singer. “But they can be important indicators of changes in your health. It is wise to go to the ophthalmologist regularly. ”

The eyes “are essentially the window to the body,” said Dr. Morehouse. “We can look at a lot of different systemic diseases. We often save human lives on this basis. ”

An eye exam can reveal a number of conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts.

“There is a normal aging process in the eye that goes with the body,” he said. “Even if you are feeling good, it is good to have established care (with an ophthalmologist). If something goes wrong, you can handle it appropriately and with a better response time. ”

He commended Mike for proactively pursuing his vision – and seeking help when a problem arose.

“He had a serious illness,” said Dr. Morehouse. “We intervened quickly. It was dealt with quickly and administered appropriately. And now he’s doing great.

“That’s a good story.”

Thank You For Reading!


  • Share:

Leave Your Comment