Beat Blindness - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Beat Blindness

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WSVN -- When Steve Pomerantz woke up a few weeks ago, his right eye seemed to change overnight.

Steve Pomerantz: "Very red and it was swollen. I felt like I could feel my eyeball pressing out."

His doctor thought the 58-year-old had a simple eye infection, until things got worse.

Steve Pomerantz: "Then the double vision started. I'm blurry, and I can't see right. Wow, I'm thinking this was really bad."

An MRI would show a much bigger problem. Steve had something unusual called a Fistula.

Dr. Eric Peterson: "Where you have an abnormal connection between an artery and a vein behind your eye and that vein going into your eye gets very big. His eye was getting blood in but had nowhere to drain out."

And if left untreated...

Dr. Eric Peterson: "He would have gone blind in that eye."

Traditionally, surgeons have to make an incision in the head to get to the blood vessels.

Dr. Eric Peterson: "But that is a big surgery, and who wants to cut the head open?"

Instead, UM Jackson Neurosurgeon Eric Peterson had a pretty incredible plan. He would go through Steve's leg to reach all the way up to his eye.

Dr. Eric Peterson: "I spent two years just doing this technique, and now I almost only do this technique through the leg."

In a high-tech suite at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Dr. Peterson weaved a small catheter all the way up Steve's blood vessels guided by a bank of computer monitors and X-ray.

Dr. Eric Peterson: "I can use a little roadmap and that highway, and navigate like a video game, all the way up into the tiny little veins."

But things got even trickier as he got closer to the problem.

Dr. Eric Peterson: "The problem with Steve was the main access route, the big jugular veins, those were closed down. Luckily he had a big facial vein that went all the way into his eye, so I was able to track a tiny wire and catheter into that face vein."

And once he was there, the doctor made the quick repair, curing Steve of the eye problem.

Dr. Eric Peterson: "The procedures are one day in the hospital versus three or four days, a swollen face, infections."

Steve Pomerantz: "100 percent turnaround within a day or two. It gave me back normal life, which is something you take for granted."

Steve didn't waste any time getting back to his normal life. He can now see to play ball with his son and is able to get back behind the wheel.

Steve Pomerantz: "Driving was the first thing I wanted to do. It's like your freedom."

Dr. Peterson says this technique of going through the leg can be used for any blood vessel problem and even for brain tumors and face tumors.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Dr. Eric Peterson
UM Jackson Neurosurgeon
305-355-1101
ericpete@med.miami.edu

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