Unless something goes wrong, you might take your eyesight for granted. Similarly, ensuring a community's access to vision-care services can be easy to overlook.
“That is exactly the case,” said ophthalmologist Abou Cham, MD. “We all take our vision for granted until something happens to it, and then it hits you how much of your life is dependent on being able to see. Basic tasks like being able to tell your medications apart, navigate your surroundings so you don’t trip and fall, or being able recognize your family members can suddenly become very challenging with vision loss.”
Dr. Cham launched Carle’s ophthalmology practice in Danville last October. The decision to add ophthalmology services to Danville on Vermilion was driven by the increased need for eye care after the retirement of a longtime Danville ophthalmologist.
Expanding vision care and especially surgery in Danville and Vermilion County benefits patients and residents as they receive much-needed treatment closer to home.
After years of deteriorating vision, Arthur Dale decided to seek help late last fall.
“My family had been trying to get me to do this,” said Dale, 80, who first noticed cloudiness in his vision about eight years ago. “Driving at night, headlights of an oncoming car would look like four headlights. It looked like there’d be a whole bunch of cars. I quit driving at night.”
After Dr. Cham’s evaluation, he was diagnosed with cataracts and early dry macular degeneration, common age-related eye conditions.
“He was very impressive,” Dale said of Dr. Cham. “I could see that he knew what he was doing. I felt very confident that he would fix me up.”
Dale had cataract surgery in his left eye in late November, followed by right eye cataract surgery three weeks later – a typical treatment plan. His post-operative care was routine, requiring only antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops.
“When I first came out I had some cloudiness, but that only lasted 48 hours,” Dale said. “I could see everything. Before I had surgery my left eye was 20/200 and my right eye was 20/70. After surgery, I had 20/20 vision in each eye without glasses.”
Dale’s surgery was planned at his convenience. Birdia Cleave’s emergency happened in late November. While doing household chores, she dropped a cup of detergent which splashed into her right eye.
“I’d never had anything hurt me that badly,” said Cleave.
She flushed her eye with water at home, but the pain persisted, prompting a visit to Carle Convenient Care. Fortunately, the nurse practitioner treating her knew about the new Danville eye clinic.
“She called Dr. Cham, and he said to send me right over,” Cleave said. “As soon as I arrived, he came in right away and checked my eye out.”
“The chemical in a lot of these detergents tends to be quite alkaline. It’s one of the few ophthalmic emergencies that you have to act on very quickly," Dr. Cham said. "Alkaline chemicals can essentially melt the front surface of the eye.”
Dr. Cham’s presence in Danville saved Cleave a stressful 40-mile trip to Champaign. “I couldn’t have asked for better service,” she said. “I didn’t know he was there (in Danville).”
She felt much better the next morning.
“I didn’t have any more pain or redness,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
“She did very well,” Dr. Cham said. “She was able to keep her 20/20 vision.”
Dr. Cham also provides a range of services to Danville-area residents including plastic surgery for droopy eyelids, blepharoplasty for “bags around the eyes,” laser surgery for glaucoma and diabetic retinal damage, retinal injections for macular degeneration and Botox injections for blepharospasm.
“It’s a pretty broad scope of practice, and it’s very convenient for Danville residents to have access to these services right where they live.” Dr. Cham said.
“It was very convenient that way,” said the octogenarian, who had the daytime-only driving restriction removed from his driver’s license. “Tell him I said, ‘Hello, and thank you.’”
For more information about Dr. Cham’s services, please call (217) 431-7655.
Categories: Staying Healthy