Chas' Story

Physicians Work Together to Spare Retired Police Sergeant from Blindness

Chas Lane thought he needed glasses, but his deteriorating vision was a sign of something much more serious.

The retired Cleveland police sergeant, who noticed loss of his peripheral and long-distance vision, first saw optometrist Danielle Alperin, OD. Dr. Alperin diagnosed glaucoma – the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the U.S. – and referred him to glaucoma specialist Douglas Rhee, MD, Director of University Hospitals Eye Institute.

“The pattern of damage looked like glaucoma, but it looked as if something else was going on, too,” said Dr. Rhee, Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. “At the UH Eye Institute, we have all the highest-tech tests. But you can’t rely solely on technology. There’s no substitute for a detailed physical exam. In Mr. Lane’s case, he had glaucoma masking his tumor.”

Scans Reveal a More Serious Issue

Because Dr. Rhee suspected a brain tumor in the 62-year-old man, he ordered an MRI and referred Lane to neurosurgeon Warren Selman, MD, Chairman of UH Cleveland Medical Center’s Department of Neurosurgery and Director of University Hospitals Neurological Institute. The MRI showed a tumor wrapped around and choking Lane’s optic nerve.

“When you have a tumor growing on your optic nerve and are facing possible blindness, it’s very comforting that they showed compassion and expedited this,” said Lane, who is now executive director of the Cleveland Police Foundation. “They truly cared. Every step of the way at University Hospitals, the people I encountered were excellent. I felt like I was getting the red-carpet treatment.”

Advanced Care with a Personalized Approach

Dr. Selman used a transnasal approach to remove the pituitary adenoma. The procedure is performed through a tiny tube inserted in one nostril. This surgical approach is minimally invasive and guided by the most advanced imaging and surgical navigation. Lane’s care also highlighted the intangible strengths of UH’s continuum of care.

“Dr. Rhee’s approach was a great example of UH’s personalized care,” Dr. Selman said. “We take the time to listen to the patient, and that allowed the doctor to notice that something was just not right about the exam and the suggested etiology of glaucoma. Dr. Rhee was able to pick up that there was something more going on.”

Surgery Has Patient Seeing Clearly Again

Lane’s peripheral vision has now returned to normal, and he has 20/20 vision with glasses.

“You can’t put a price on your eyesight,” Lane said. “If I hadn’t gone to the eye doctor, who knows how long this would have gone on? I could have gone blind.

“Knowing I’m not going to lose my sight or have it severely impacted has definitely given me peace of mind.”

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