Prosthetic lens a sight saver for Iraq vets

Stryker

Stryker

Choose from among 9 different Stryker Infantry Fighting Vehicle pictures for your poster or framed art print. Find Stryker soldiers in Iraq at The PatriArt Gallery

Robert Henline, a 36-year-old Army staff sergeant serving in Iraq, was riding with four other soldiers when their truck was hit by a roadside bomb. The San Antonio, Texas, resident was the only survivor of the April 2007 attack, but he sustained severe burns over 38 percent of his body, primarily his face, head, and left arm.

One eyelid was badly damaged, and over time his other eyelid wouldn’t close because it was pulled open by healing skin grafts, leaving his hazel eyes exposed to the elements and painfully dry.

For a year, he wore goggles and smeared his eyes with ointment and drops.

“It was like driving in the rain without wipers,” he said.

Then he tried a “liquid bandage” developed by a Boston researcher, which had been used for several years on patients with diseased or damaged corneas, but not on combat victims. The results were dramatic.

“I saw 20/15 right off the bat,” he said in a recent interview.

Successes like Henline’s have led the Army to begin using the device, which resembles a large contact lens, more widely. Ophthalmologist Dr. Perry Rosenthal of Needham, who invented the lens, trained an Army optometrist to fit it at a clinic at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Called the Boston Ocular Surface Prosthesis, the lens rests on the white of the eye and forms a dome over the cornea

READ the entire Boston Globe article

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