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A degenerative eye disease called keratoconus has caused 24-year-old Rico to experience progressive vision loss for the past 10 years. The condition causes the cornea to gradually deteriorate and develop an abnormal, cone-like shape.
Early symptoms of keratoconus include blurred or distorted vision, increased sensitivity to light and difficulty seeing at night. In advanced stages, keratoconus can trigger a sudden corneal rupture, resulting in visible clouding of vision and in some cases, a complete whiteout of the eye. “If nothing’s done, I’m basically going to go blind,” Rico says. “It’s terrifying to think about losing my vision.”
In order to save his sight, Rico needs a corneal transplant on his left eye and a procedure called cross-linking to strengthen and stabilize the cornea of his right eye. Unable to afford the costly procedures, Rico’s mother, Mabelle, reached out to The Doctors for help. The Doctors contacted ophthalmologist and keratoconus specialist Dr. Ronald Gaster, who agreed to help Rico free of charge.