Bloomington, MN | Keratoconus Procedure to Save Firefighter's Vision | Chu Vision Institute

Jeremy Jensen of the Minneapolis Fire Department visits Chu Vision Institute for a solution to Keratoconus. KSTP 5 News | 10/18/2016


Jessica Miles: Remember this three alarm fire? This broke out just over a week ago at an apartment building in downtown Minneapolis due to a faulty electrical outlet. We all know it's a firefighter's job to rush into the building as everyone else is running out, but today on a story, you'll see only on Five Eyewitness News are Jessica Miles tells us how one of those firefighters was dealing with much more than these massive flames that day.

Jessica Miles: As the smoke billowed and the flames erupted, Jeremy Jensen was inside this apartment building.

Jeremy Jensen: The heat was, was extreme. It was very hot. You could kind of feel your ears sizzle a little bit.

Jessica Miles: As a Minneapolis firefighter, he was working to put this massive fire out.

Jeremy Jensen: There was a ton of smoke, couldn't really see anything.

Jessica Miles: Yet sight, a necessity for firefighters, is causing Jensen anguish.

Jeremy Jensen: It's very challenging because it's one thing trying to see, I mean, I can see, but it's just not crisp so it's very frustrating.

Jessica Miles: Jensen has keratoconus. It's a disease that causes the cornea to change from a dome like shape to a cone. It leads to blurry vision. Jensen's contacts are horribly uncomfortable. Glasses are a must.

Speaker: Do you think a lot people take for granted eyesight?

Jeremy Jensen: I mean, I get jealous.

Dr. Ralph Chu: Hi, Jeremy. How you doing? Nice to meet you.

Jeremy Jensen: Nice meeting you.

Dr. Ralph Chu: So you're going to come right over here with me.

Jessica Miles: But now, some hope. Jensen is at the Chu Vision Institute in Bloomington to get corneal cross-linking. It's a brand new procedure that will strengthen the cornea tissue in his eyes.

Dr. Ralph Chu: There's no cutting. There's no tissue loss. We're really just placing drops on the patient's eyes and using a light to strengthen the tissue.

Jessica Miles: After the eye is prepped, then there's about a half an hour where there are drops going into the eye and that's what's happening right now. Then comes 30 minutes of the light. Dr. Chu says the procedure will not only halt the progression of the disease, but will likely improve this firefighters eyesight.

Dr. Ralph Chu: You're trying to save lives so having the best vision possible is critical.

Jessica Miles: It's an hour of time that could change Jensen's life.

Jeremy Jensen: I'm excited. Hopefully this will correct some stuff...

Jessica Miles: Make a difference.

Jeremy Jensen: Yeah.

Leah McLean: We're pulling for him. Dr. Chu says that it takes about five to seven days for the eye surface to heal. The eye will then stabilize over the next few months.