As the result of prior cataract surgery gone terribly wrong my pupil was torn and it would no longer close in light. The sun was so bright that even through closed eyelids it was unbearable. I could not keep my eyes open outdoors. I thought there was no hope of going out in the sun again like normal people.
I heard of Dr. Masket and the surgeries he was performing through the Jules Stein Institute at UCLA. Even though the procedure was not approved by the FDA and was cutting edge, just knowing there was a procedure available gave me a glimmer of hope. But affording the surgery was impossible. Dr. Masket told me he was waiting for Non Profit approval for his charitable organization meant to help people exactly like me, but that it was still months off.
I told a few friends about the surgery and how impossible it seemed and they rallied around my cause and through online fundraising, BBQ and breakfast events, garage sales and individual personal donations they raised two thirds of the money I needed. Masket's office kindly arranged a payment plan with me for the rest.
The surgery went flawlessly. With my prior experiences with surgeries being so bad this was a huge relief for me. Dr. Masket and his office treated me with kindness, compassion and professionalism that I had not experienced with my previous doctor. This kindness cannot be overstated in my opinion.
Now with my new Iris implant I can go out in the daytime without my eyes clamping shut. The difference between before and after is like night and day, literally. And the color match is perfect.
I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Masket and his staff not only for giving me my life back but for treating me so well when I felt so hopeless. They are truly performing miracles.
If it wasn't for the kindness of so many people I barely knew I don't know where I would be today. I hope one day I will be able to give back to the work they are doing, giving sight back to the sightless and hope back to the hopeless.
The artificial iris is limited to the USFDA investigational trial