When my son was an infant, he shared with me every germ and infection that came along. For three long years, I endured one strange new condition after another.
One particular morning, my son awoke with both of his eyes completely sealed shut by a sticky yellow crust that I had never seen before. So, I phoned our doctor and made an immediate appointment.
Two hours later, we were both in the doctor’s office with itchy, red, swollen eyes – where I was completely open to any and all relief.
The doctor evaluated both of us, swabbed our eyes, drew our blood and later returned with his official diagnosis: Blepharitis.
According to the doctor, Blepharitis is an infection that inflames the eyelash follicles along the edge of the eyelid. This prevents the oil glands along the eyelids from secreting properly and causes a thick, yellowish build-up of fluid in the eyes.
As luck would have it, the doctor shared with me information about a clinical trial assessing the potential use of a new treatment that could help. While I was definitely eager for relief, I was more than a little hesitant about enrolling myself and my son in a clinical trial.
Thankfully, the doctor completely understood my reluctance. So, he provided me with an abundance of literature about the trial and spent time answering all my questions before I decided to enroll. We were then instructed to go directly to the eye specialist who was in charge of the trial.
I was a bit nervous, but also proud that my son and I could – in some small way – contribute to research that might help other people with this strange eye condition.
From the moment I met the eye specialist, I was relieved. He showed such genuine concern for both my son and I – demonstrating a serious devotion to our care.
After explaining everything about the trial, including my right to withdraw from it at any time for any reason (depending upon my unpredictable “mom radar”), he and his nurse administered the first round of treatment.
Each day for the next two weeks, my son and I returned to the eye specialist for evaluation and additional treatment. We became part of a support network that closely monitored our condition, listened intently to my “icky” daily status reports, and thoroughly answered every one of my questions.
The trial was an enjoyable experience that slowly and steadily attacked the Blepharitis until it was completely gone. Over the following three months, we visited the eye specialist once a week for follow-up care and evaluation.
We both graduated from the clinical trial with a clean bill of health and the satisfaction of knowing we played a role (however small) in finding a more effective treatment for this strange eye condition.