Katia Bergstrom, 23, is a patient at UCI’s Gavin Herbert Eye Institute.

Advanced eye treatment gives Irvine student hopeful future

by LORI BASHEDA

Katia Bergstrom was born three months premature.

“They worked really hard and they saved me,” she says.

Miraculously, the only impact was to her eyes. She needed strong glasses even as a child and had to sit in the front row in classrooms, but she could still see.

Until the summer after her freshman year in high school.

“I woke up one morning and I was blind in my left eye,” she says.

For the rest of high school, her dad, Michael, an Irvine police motorcycle officer, and her mom, Gina, an administrative assistant at the department, ferried her to and from Los Angeles ophthalmologists.

“I never learned to drive,” she says.” That’s one of the biggest issues I face.”

It’s one of the reasons why this past spring Bergstrom, now 23 and studying English literature at Cal State Fullerton switched to UCI’s Gavin Herbert Eye Institute.

“I love that it’s so close,” she says.

Almost immediately, her new specialists at Gavin Herbert told her that the haze on both her corneas was actually scarring from her surgeries, and could be removed.

“They were the first doctors to do something about this,” she says. “The surgery let more light into my eyes, and my double vision is nearly gone now.”

She is grateful to her new doctors for their optimism.

“They’re telling me about all these future technologies coming out,” she says. “It’s the first time in eight years that anyone has offered me hope. It’s an answer to a prayer that I have had.”