An Unexpected Diagnosis
“The entire experience was expeditious and professional, and the entire team was friendly and comforting."
In 2015, Donna Eiseman noticed her peripheral vision to the right was doubled. As weeks passed with the double vision continuing, the 58-year-old sought out an optometrist, thinking it was an eye problem. After an eye exam, her optometrist suggested that she see a neurologist for further examination.
The New York native was then referred to Anthony D’Ambrosio, MD, Co-Director of The Valley Hospital Gamma Knife Center, and sent for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) prior to her appointment.
“After I received an MRI of my head, I met with Dr. D’Ambrosio who determined I had a meningioma that was entangled in my optical nerves. Over time, as the tumor grew, it damaged an optical nerve, which caused the double vision,” Donna said.
Meningiomas are brain tumors that arise from the meninges, which are layers of the brain that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord, and push into the brain, covering the brain and spinal cord. Most meningiomas are benign, but some can be more aggressive. Some patients will display no symptoms, while others will have symptoms caused by pressure on the brain by the tumor.
While Donna’s tumor was benign, Dr. D’Ambrosio explained that the location of the meningioma meant surgery was not a safe option for removal. He suggested performing Gamma Knife radiosurgery as an alternative.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a minimally invasive, advanced form of radiation therapy that uses multiple focused beams of high-dose gamma radiation to target a specific area without affecting the surrounding brain.
“Not all patients require immediate treatment for meningiomas, but those who do may need surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery,” said Dr. D’Ambrosio. “With Gamma Knife, we are able to deliver focused radiation directly to the tumor while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue, like the optical nerves in Donna’s case.”
In October 2015, Donna underwent Gamma Knife radiosurgery at Valley’s Gamma Knife Center. During the two-hour procedure, a head frame was placed on Donna’s head, and radiation therapy was delivered.
“After the procedure, the head frame was removed, and I was discharged. I rested for a few days after, but I experienced no pain or side effects and was back on my feet in a day or two,” said Donna. “The entire experience was expeditious and professional, and the entire team was friendly and comforting.”
In February of 2023, Donna received a follow-up MRI, as a part of her follow-up care, where imaging reassured her that there was no new growth.
Today, Donna resides in North Carolina with her husband and is enjoying her retirement. Her double vision has not progressed since.
“The entire experience still feels surreal. I am so thankful I was referred to Dr. D’Ambrosio in 2015. He is compassionate, kind, easy to speak with, and supportive. He put my family at ease during our consultations and addressed my issue quickly and successfully,” Donna said.