Blind Veteran Regains Sight In Time to See Grandson's Baptism and Share Tidings of Joy

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 18-Dec-2014

For the past two years, 65-year-old Bacil Putman literally couldn’t see due to hyper mature cataracts in both eyes. Putman, a United States Marine Corps veteran, says regaining his eyesight after cataract surgery allowed him to receive his Christmas present early this year. “My 8-year-old grandson was baptized this weekend, and I was able to see it,” Putman says, holding back tears.

Putman was referred to Key-Whitman Eye Center by the Dallas VA (Veterans Affairs) this past June. The journey has been a long and arduous one for Putnam, who had visited multiple medical facilities and seen several doctors while seeking eye care.

Vision loss curtails independence, increases health risks

Prior to losing his vision, Putman enjoyed hunting with his family, cooking and staying active walking and playing with his grandkids. He also relied on his vision to help manage his diabetes after being diagnosed with the disease in 2000. Along with staying active, Putman needed to see so he could monitor his blood sugar and inject the correct amount of insulin every day.

As his vision worsened, Putman’s life became more and more challenging. “The only thing I could do, really, was listen to music or turn on the TV and listen. I couldn’t take a walk, because I couldn’t see anything except the shadow of my hand in front of my face. My doctor at the VA had to change my insulin to be the same dose, because I couldn’t even see to load my syringe and take my insulin shots.”

Putman’s daughter helped load his syringes, organized other medications and brought meals to his home because cooking became difficult, too. “I’m an independent guy, and I liked to cook for myself and my family. My kids loved it because I used to cook on the grill or with the smoker. Because I couldn’t see, I ended up with burnt pancakes and hard, fried eggs, and I don’t like hard, fried eggs,” Putman says.

Cataract surgery offers the gift of sight and returns simple joys

Cataracts occur naturally as people age, but may also be caused by trauma, some medications, smoking, diabetes and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light. Over time the focusing lens of the eye behind the pupil becomes progressively cloudier, which makes it difficult or impossible to see. Once the lens is damaged, there is no way to make it clear again, however a cataract surgeon can replace it with an artificial lens, which is what occurs during cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery not only helps people regain their vision, it may offer other significant benefits. Recent studies indicate that older adults who regain their eyesight after cataract surgery don’t just see better, they may also live longer and can experience slower decline in memory loss.

Due to the severity and thickness of Putman’s cataracts, the Key-Whitman team sent the veteran to a retina specialist for clearance prior to proceeding with the cataract surgeries. With the specialist’s approval, Putman returned to Key-Whitman where cataract surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Whitman performed traditional cataract surgery on both eyes, the first on July 16 and the second on July 30.

Putman says, “When my daughter and I left Key-Whitman, I started reading every billboard on the way home. I was so excited to see again. Now I’m like a kid in a candy store.” Throughout the month of August, his eyes continued to heal and by August 20, Putman could see 20/20 in both eyes without glasses.

Holiday time is for healthy walks, grandkids and Cajun smoked turkey

After cataract surgery, Putman resumed the neighborhood walks he had curtailed due to safety concerns. When he couldn’t see, he was in danger of being hit by a car, and at one point he even injured himself falling into a hole. With his vision restored, Putman now walks 45-plus minutes a day and has lost much of the weight he gained when he couldn’t see. Exercise is critical for people battling diabetes.

Along with regaining the gift of sight, losing weight and experiencing his grandson’s baptism with 20/20 vision, Putman has more plans for the holiday season. He’s also excited to spend more time “getting in trouble, wrestling and playing baseball with my grandkids again. My grandson said ‘we can go back to playing baseball, and you can catch the ball, so you won’t get hit,’” Putman jokes. And now that he’s able to cook again, his family can also look forward to his signature Cajun smoked turkey at their holiday feast.

Categories: Eye Health
Blog Home
  • Certified

    As a team of Board Certified Specialists, we are the qualified surgeons you can rely on to handle your procedure.

  • Experienced

    Our professionals have been devoted to serving the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex for more than 50 years.

  • Advanced

    Our surgeons utilize only the most state-of-the-art equipment and techniques, all which are approved by the FDA.

  • Dedicated

    We are passionate about providing a lifetime of high quality, specialized eye care to meet our patients' needs.

  • Welcoming

    Our patients are our top priority, and every person who walks through our doors is treated with respect and care.

  • Award-Winning

    As a highly rated facility, our list of honors includes the Angie's List Super Service Award in Eye Care – Ophthalmology.