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Dr. Hessen, Baltimore MD

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  • Dr. Hessen, Baltimore MD

    I've now had the good fortune to have been seen by Dr. Hessen at Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, Maryland 5 or 6 times. She specializes in dry eye disease, is highly knowledgeable, is well aware of recent literature. She is also certified for evaluating and fitting patients for PROSE sclerals, had training at BFS. She has a growing practice of dry eye disease patients. I find her to be experienced, a good listener, very willing to answer questions. She will evaluate me for PROSE sclerals sometime in the near future, however my ability to tolerate them is very questionable because I have L eye neuropathic pain.

  • #2
    Dr. Hessen, I continue to highly recommend

    I've continued to work with Dr. Hessen, and as I have RCEs, see her with great frequency at times. I have punctal plugs, which definitely have helped some, and have used lacriserts for about 4 months. When I strictly adhere to my eye care regimen, using Genteal gel drops every 2-3 hrs, Muro ointment at nite, Muro drops x2/day, and am not severely stressed, then my eyes are much more comfortable during the day, less dry, and with many fewer erosions. But if I don't follow it religiously, I am plagued with frequent erosions. Dr. Hessen has worked with me very closely, always fits me in for emergencies on the same day I call though she is solidly booked (and I've had frequent emergencies lately), is very empathetic and compassionate. She continually seeks out any and all information on DES, attending seminars, and networking. She "gets" it re: the impact DES has on her patients lives, including their employment, mental health. She really understands pain. And she has dry eye herself, though she said it's nowhere near what her DES patients experience. She looks to be in her early 30s, but I may be off. But she has much more knowledge and experience in dealing with DES than the corneal specialists at Wilmer. They refer all their DED patients to her for care. And she well understands the effects of other diagnoses such as EBMD, MGD, on DED, and corneal integrity.

    If your have further questions, I'd be glad to talk with you. Send me a PM and I'll give you my phone number.


    • #3
      thank-you mgshutterbug for posting this on Dr. Hesses. I am seeing her for a refit for my Scleral lenses in Feb. It is so wonderful to find a doctor who does care. It has been over five years for me with severely dry eyes due to Sjogrens. I am only able to wear one Scleral lens and hoping for better fitting lenses that i can wear daily.
      What is the cause for your dry eyes?


      • #4
        Hi faithfully,

        I wish you all the best with the refit of your sclerals. How did you find out about Dr. Hessen? I do know that she has a steadily increasing number of patients for PROSE sclerals; she blocks out either 2-3 days/week for just those patients. But even on those days she has seen me in emergencies very early in the morning, before scheduled appts. She takes excellent care of all her Dry Eye Disease patients (and I'm sure of her other Pts, too, of course!)

        The paragraphs that follow explain why I developed severe DED in my L eye. And also why I attempted to get a trigeminal nerve block to v2, which goes to the upper jaw area, to numb the central teeth so I could get crowns finally placed on them without being incapacitated with pain for 6 week or longer. That botched neurosurgery, rhizotomy and RFC, radiofrequency coagulation, severely damaged all 3 branches of the trigeminal nerve, with devastating damage to v1, the nerve branch which goes to the lacrimal glands (tear ducts), innervates sensory nerves in the eye itself, and I believe that it also damaged indirectly the goblet cells and who knows what else. The result was no tear production at all in the L eye, anesthesia dolorosa, almost continuous RCEs from the combination of almost no tear production, and the migrating fibers in the cornea from EBMD resulting in a bumpy corneal surface (the surgery did not cause EBMD. Already had it). Perfect setting to cause unending erosions.

        I have considerable residual pain from a pituitary tumour surgery about 25 yrs ago. It initially caused totally debilitating pain in my sinuses, my entire nose, upper gums, and top 2 middle teeth. The unbearable pain caused my dentist to think that maybe the nerves to those teeth had also been heavily damaged during the pituitary surgery, and that the teeth were dying. So with great trepidation, I went to an endodontist . The added excruciating pain from that sent me over the edge. The teeth needed to be crowned immediately after the root canals because the teeth become extremely brittle, and eventually begin to have chunks break off. But in the pain I was in, no way would I let anyone touch those teeth again. They held up about 20 yrs, when big pieces of the bottom edge started to break off. My dentist would patch them up as best he could after numbing me enough to kill an elephant. That was necessary because with all the nerve damage from the surgery, the area was extremely hard to get numb. And I'd need heavy pain killers for 3-6 weeks after because any vibration on the teeth restarted the severe pain cycle. No way I'd possibly be able to work for that period of time. I said no way are you going to touch those teeth unless I have some way to prevent or block that pain.

        So he sent me to a maxillofacial surgeon. Who sent me to a neurosurgeon who worked closely with Dr. Ben Carson. He said he could do a nerve block which would only numb the nerve branch to the upper jaw. It would wear off in 1/2 yr - yr. He said complication rate was less than 0.5%, and he never told me about most of them. I said ok after doing some research on it. I had done nowhere near enough. It's now 2.5 yrs post surgery, much of the L side of my face has total numbness, I still have varying degrees of paralysis of muscles on the L side of my face, it hurts to talk alot at one time, or chew on that side for long because the muscles are so weak, some don't work at all, and some muscle contractures resulted. It CAUSED trigeminal neuralgia. Cold, any wind, warm or cold causes excruciating pain. And - it did severe damage to the L eye, causing severe DED. Incidentally, he also severely damaged v3, the nerve branch going to the lower part of my jaw, half my tongue was totally numb, and had no sense of taste. Let the buyer beware... I will never again consent to any surgery unless it is an emergency, or is urgently needed to address some very severe medical condition. And if it's not an emergency - you had better believe that I will b e doing extensive research, and seeking out additional opinions. Problem was, I tried to get additional consults, but it's such a highly uncommon neurological problem, I could find no one else in-state. Had no funds to go out-of-state.


        • #5
          Oh - feel free to PM me and I will give you my phone number if you'd like to talk. Do you live in Maryland or out-of-state?

          My other eye also has DED to mod/severe degree, unknown cause. Maybe my age, since drying of the eyes increases with age.


          • #6
            Just came across this - I saw Dr. Hessen back in March and agree that she is a great doctor (caring, seems smart, attentive). I am from Maryland but don't live there anymore, so while I have not been back to see her, I would definitely return if I move back to the MD area / am considering going back anyway.


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