Giving the Gift of Sight

Giving the Gift of Sight
By: Holly Brantley

Imagine being a kid unable to see a baseball or look forward to driving a car. Simple things one Southeast Missouri boy thought he might never enjoy.

Now he can.

Thanks to a medical procedure made available to him by the researchers at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Paul Mize turned 13 in January. Hi wish was to see. Well, wish granted.

Paul is one of few children in Missouri to receive Intraocular lenses. It's opened up a whole new world for Paul and to his mother it is a miracle. "He started wearing glasses at age one," recalls Karla Mize.

"He was six months old when his birth mother shook him and that caused the loss of his sight. As a baby he could not see me across the room." Karla Mize took Paul in when he was eleven months old. She watched him grow up with other physical and mental problems as a result of his brain injury.

Giving Paul the gift of sight was always her dream. "It is something I had always prayed for," said Karla. "Lord, just let him see." Less than a year ago, Karla's prayers for Paul were answered during their annual trip to Children's Hospital in St. Louis. "This year the surgeon comes in and says, 'If you don't mind, I would like to do this surgery on him that's brand new for children. I think I can get him almost perfect vision,' " Karla remembers.

Before surgery, Paul's vision was 20 over 800 in one eye and 20 over 1000 in the other. Now, at 13 Paul is seeing his world for the first time with almost perfect vision. "He would just go around smiling and say 'I can see without my glasses,' " said Karla.

Paul is active in the Special Olympics. He's already won more than 20 medals. This year, Paul will be able to play softball for the first time and continue to explore a world he's never truly laid eyes on. "We're really excited about going to the Cardinal's Baseball game for the first time," said Karla.

It usually takes two surgeries with a short recovery time. Dr. Lawrence Tychen of St. Louis Children's Hospital performed Paul's surgeries. Dr. Tychen says he is able to perform the Introcular Lens Implant surgery in a limited number of children as the investigator of a research study on pediatric refractive surgery.

If you think you or your child might be a candidate for this procedure call Dr. Tychen's office at (314) 454-6026.