“I’m beyond grateful to you …and the entire staff at Universal Vision Medical Center for the excellent care all of you provide, behind a great surgeon there will always be a GREAT Supporting Staff and indeed all of you are very caring, professional and supportive. I believe my story is important and strongly feel that it will help others, it is important that my story is shared and this is the short version.
I owe my eyes health, piece of mind and now my “controllable” glaucoma to Dr. Farnoosh Tinoosh and his staff at Universal Vision Medical Center, I just wish I had met them sooner, my sight in my right eye would had been saved had I known them 5 years ago.
I met Dr. Tinoosh in June of 2017, I came to know of him through a set of circumstances and events which is a story in and of itself, however to keep this story short, through a stroke of luck and a series of random events I came to know of him and immediately made an appointment.
My story begins in 1993 as I re-engaged with my studies I had a bit of trouble reading and decided to visit a local retailer of prescription eyewear. During the required eye exam visit the doctor on staff was not able to obtain the Intraocular pressure (IOP) from my eyes with the standard air-puff tonometer, after several inconclusive tries she decided to use the Goldmann applanation tonometer, much to her dismay and mine she discovered that the eye pressure in both eyes was abnormally high (25 L) and (45 R).
At the time I was 28 years old and about to embark on saga filled with a plethora of eye drops, three Laser Peripheral Iridotomy interventions (LPI) and an overwhelming amount of anxiety as the cherry on top.
It is amazing that throughout these first 28 years of my life including 4 years of active duty in the US Navy I had never once been offered to measure my intraocular pressure and that it was not until a routine retail store visit that it was done. Prior to 1993 I had no idea that eyes had a pressure nor that it should be checked. In high school health class we covered blood pressure and heart health but nothing was mentioned about eye pressure, in addition prior to 1993 no other optometrist or ophthalmologist I had visited offered to measure the pressure in my eyes!
The first medication I was prescribed was Pilocarpine, this medication has many adverse side effects, however the most common and the least tolerated is the problem of changing focus between near objects and distant objects, in essence the eyes are locked and are not able to focus. As you may imagine it became impossible to read anything for long periods of times. Studying and pilocarpine simply do not mix, it is virtually impossible to read while under its effects. After several complaints I was prescribed Alphagan and Xalatan, then Cosopt and Alphagan, then Cosopt, Alphagan and Lumigan. For the next 23 years I was to experience, irritation and various allergic reactions from these medications but what was worse is that the pressure in my right eye would continue to raise despite the various meds while my left eye was somewhat responsive to the medications, my right eye’s pressure was always very high and no one could provide me with a reason of why this was happening. The right eye IOP would spike to 50 and a few times 60 while the highest recorded IOP in the left was in its 30s, eventually the damage to the right optic nerve reached 97% and by 2012/13 all I could see was a bit of light through it and was no longer able to see through it. I now was blind in one eye and realizing I was only equipped with a pair anxiety spiked further.
At this juncture I’m 48 years old and spent the last 20 years trying to stop Glaucoma from taking my sight to no avail, one eye was gone I told myself in despair, one more to go?
While I was frantically searching for a solution the medical community I was exposed to was standing idle, I would probe all doctors in the field for solutions and desperately seeking a way to preserve the one eye I had left from further damage, but the answers were all the same and what was most apparent one key element missing was compassion. In the past 20 years I have seen over 10 specialists some from world renowned institutions and ‘eye centers’, and I mean institutions and doctors that have been considered the TOP in the world and got the same canned standard answers: Iridectomy, Trabeculectomy, Viscocanalostomy, Goniotomy, Tube-Shunt surgery, Canaloplasty, surgical interventions which I found risky and ridden with other post-surgery risks of infection, not to mention the fact that the anatomy of the eye would be damaged by some of these procedures hence decreasing the chances of potential effectiveness of future stem cell therapies, in addition I was not willing to undergo such invasive procedures that required the implanting of drainage tubes.
Throughout these appointments no one ever mention any alternatives and I found it interesting that everyone had the same canned answer, as my sense of despair heightened I realized how myopic is the approach to glaucoma, I knew there was a solution I just had to find it so I kept on searching for it.
In 2014 I experienced a glimpse of hope, things began to change, during a visit with an ophthalmologist in Santa Monica as I was getting a new prescription for eye glasses, the doctor moved by her compassion towards me would talk to me trying to help, during this visit she mentioned that I had the beginning of a cataract in my right eye, but there was no cause for concern (it was negligible), then she paused and said “that’s right you should do cataract surgery I bet the pressure will go down!” I asked her to explain and she did, however she quickly pointed out she was not a surgeon, but I should look into it. At last there was hope, by now my right eye had no sight but was aesthetically disturbing since the right pupil would move towards the upper right due to the constant high pressure, and I was always aware that both of my eyes were subjected to these uncontrollable bouts of high pressure, but at last there was a glimpse of hope and began researching the possibilities.
When I searched the National Institute of Health (NIH), they had the data, there were others talking about it, but all of the specialists throughout my 23 year saga had never mentioned it to me! Why? (This is the question that begs an answer, the blindness in my right eye could have been prevented!)
As I began to sift through the professional medical landscape of eye surgeons I had lost all hope, I had already been to an eye institute that was considered the top in the world, how could I be so arrogant to think that something better was out there! Perhaps my thinking was wrong. Indeed I was wrong, never give up in your search and never assume that just because a place has status it is doing all that it can for its patients. It cost me an eye to learn this lesson and it is worth while sharing it! Then I remembered to never give up searching for answers and solutions, not everything that is good is popular and not everything that is popular is good, this applies to everything I told myself.
In 2017 I came across someone I identified as a genius in the field of ophthalmology, someone that meticulously approaches eye care from scientific pragmatism, Dr. Farnoosh Tinoosh, an eye physician and surgeon whom has met rigorous qualification and performed in excess of 40,000 LASIK procedures, I knew I had discovered the difference because surgeons are not only pragmatic but also due to the nature of their work they need to be decisive and self-confident and till that day I had experienced the opposite of these life changing attitudes. When I first walked into Dr. Tinoosh office, the staff’s attentiveness and care was different from what I had experienced in the past 24 years. Alas, at last not matter what would happen I instantly felt I was in ‘good hands’ this is what I needed, a trend setter and a leader in this field, someone that understood the uniqueness of each individual, yet applied the scientific method to the individual patient’s situation, a scientific approach evident from my first visit.
Dr. Tinoosh just does not follow standards, he sets them. His patient relations and bedside manners are second to none and to be followed by those world renowned centers I mentioned earlier, he is an advisor to the patients and he realizes that although medicine has standards, all patients are very unique and that the solution lays outside the boundaries of the problem, as Albert Einstein famously stated: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. We must think outside of the proverbial box.
For me it took 25 years to discover Dr. Tinoosh, for you it could be now. The next challenge is regaining my site in my right eye, I’m confident it will happened within my lifetime, I greatly trust the advances in science and believe that within my lifetime restoration of the optic nerve will be a reality. Although I may be blind in one eye, the sight of my future as never been clearer, I hope to be the beneficiary of these great leaps in science and I hope to see you there as well Dr. Tinoosh.
Thank you for your professionalism, knowledge, wisdom, care and never ending willingness to help, without these traits I would have never been able to finally reach the level of peace of mind knowing that what was once uncontrollable is now tamed. I have regained a quality of life and confidence that I once had thanks to you.”