Families often share similar physical features, personalities, but how about the same disease?
One Las Vegas family, including both parents and four children, suffer from an eye disorder called keratoconus. It affects the shape of the cornea and can cause blindness.
8 News NOW has followed the family’s journey as two of the children got a much needed surgery.
Doctors say it’s extremely rare for an entire family to suffer from keratoconus.
While there is no cure for the eye disease, there is a surgery to improve the loss of vision. 8 News NOW was there as a set of twins underwent what could be a life-changing procedure.
Doctor visits are not uncommon for Arturo Perez and his twin brother Rogelio, but they may soon become less frequent.
“You can’t live your life normally,” Arturo said.
He was the first of his three siblings to be diagnosed with keratoconus as a young child. The eye disease affects everyone in his family.
“When I’m trying to focus on one particular thing, I can’t see as well,” said Rogelio Perez.
During a pre-operation appointment, Dr. Jack Abrams went over the procedure with the twins and what the outcome may be.
“It helps vision to some degree but the main purpose of doing intacs is to prevent the cornea from getting worse. It slows down the process of the disease,” said Dr. Abrams, ophthalmologist.
Keratoconus affects the shape of the outer layer of the eye called the cornea turning it into a cone-shape and causing blurriness.
The surgery re-enforces the normal shape of the eye by placing two semi-circular rings called “intacs” inside the cornea.
After discussing the procedure, the twins were back for surgery a week later.
“I’m feeling good, a little sleepy cause of the medication, but I’m good,” Arturo said.
“Dr. Abrams just kept assuring me it was going to be fine,” Rogelio said.
The surgery took all but a few minutes and his parents were allowed to watch.
“Good job Rogelio,” said Dr. Abrams. “One down, another one to go.”
Arturo’s surgery, also a few minutes.
“The surgeries went well. They both did very well,” Dr. Abrams said.
After getting their eyes checked one last time, the twins were allowed to go home.
The twin’s vision is expected to get better over the next month or two.
Keratoconus affects about one in a 1,000 people.