Traditionally, if you need a specialist for your eyes you go to an independent practitioner. Ophthalmology isn't usually part of a health system, but that's not the case in Marshall, Minnesota. As Nancy Naeve Brown tells us having ophthalmologists at Avera Marshall has made a huge impact on the life of a woman who is no longer going blind.
On top of having congenital cataracts and being extremely nearsighted Carol Jensen from Marshall also found out a few years ago she has myopic degeneration the seventh leading cause of blindness.
Carol says, "I was struggling with seeing signs when I was driving. I didn't want to go in a crowded room or a basketball game because I couldn't see. My quality of life was changing. I was becoming withdrawn and I'm not like that kind of person. "
Ophthalmologist Dr. Curtis Louwagie with Avera Marshall Southwest Ophthalmology says, "Where they have a problem is with the pigment under the retina and they can grow abnormal blood vessels under the retina which can bleed or cause swelling and that decreases your vision."
Carol was initially told by out-of-state doctors there was nothing they could do for her. Ophthalmologist Dr. Curtis Louwagie and Avera Marshall joined forces at just the right time for her which included a series of Avastin shots in her right eye.
Carol says, "Having the treatments done here is unbelievably nice because it involves another driver and taking off work."
Nancy shows what a healthy eye looks like and what Carol's eye looks like and they are two completely looking retinas.
Dr. Louwagie says, "Once we had the leaky blood vessels under control then she had cataract surgery we used a special lens implant to help get rid of her astigmatism which made her less nearsighted."
Carol says, "I can see fantastic. It's overwhelming to be able to see my grandchildren's faces. My granddaughter playing basketball and I can watch her."
Carol will continue to see Dr. Louwagie every 3 months for shots which she is happy to do because she knows she sees because of him.
Carol is only 57 used to worry about losing her driver's license because of the eye disease, but with this treatment at Avera Marshall she no longer gives it a second thought.