To See or Not To See

July 11, 2008, 1:08 p.m. (ET)
Apparently, the cat is out of the bag. Only a handful of people knew I had bad eyes, and only a select few even knew the extent of how bad they were. Well, not sure how or why, but it was announced to the world during the World Championships in Altenberg, Germany. Oh well, now that you all know, I'll fill you in on the details. I have a degenerative eye disease called Keratoconus. Here's a good definition, "A progressive disease of the eye in which the cornea becomes progressively thinner and the development of an irregular, cone-like corneal protrusion occurs. As the disease progresses, vision becomes increasingly distorted." Notice the "increasingly distorted" I was diagnosed in mid-2001. It's been 7 years; that means I'm not doing so well. Anyway, for some fun, I'll show you some images that a couple gentleman created to show the rest of the world what it is like to have Keratoconus. Here is what Dr. Elio Spinello and Ian McCain said about what they have created: "KCVision is a compilation of images designed to help communicate how and what individuals with Keratoconus see. Keratoconus impacts the cornea which is the clear window of the eye and is responsible for refracting most of the light coming into the eye. Therefore, abnormalities of the cornea severely affect the way we see the world making simple tasks, like driving, watching TV or reading a book difficult. One of the best descriptions of keratoconus vision is that it is similar to looking through a car windshield on a rainy day. These images may be useful in helping to communicate the severity of vision problems to friends and family members of KC patients, they are also useful in helping to understand some of the limitations that those with KC face on a daily basis." (Have I told you what Keratoconus is yet?) So, please observe, learn, and appreciate what these individuals, including myself have to live with on a day to day basis. These two images show what a normal person sees, and what a person with moderate Keratoconus sees. This is what we call "Double Vision"
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The Glare Effect
This is Ghosting


I'm sure they all look pretty much the same; but as an expert, they aren't and it's interesting to talk to Opthamologists about the condition because they actually know what I'm saying. For your information, I was more on the "Ghosting"/"Double Vision" side. I usually had to choose, the middle one. That may be why when I have few too many drinks and people tell me to follow the one in the middle, I don't have much of a problem; I was already following that one. OK, bad joke. But if you can't laugh about it, you can't live with it.


Well, the reason for this post is to tell you that last week I had my vision corrected with an ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens, or which is easier to remember Implantable Contact Lens)


If you would like to see how it goes, here is a link to the "Today Show" that did a live filming of an operation; the day before I had my operation. I had to dodge some of their equipment. Here is the video. (I'll post a link just in case you can't see it)

So, as you can see. (haha, pun intended) I can see now. It's been a week and I'm still getting used to my new vision. In fact, I keep running in to things because I'm not used to the depth-perception. It's awkward. I'm sure I'll manage. Anyway, my vision has gone from 20/500 to 20/20. It is still fluctuating because my eyes are still adapting to the ICL, but whatever the outcome finally settles at, it will be better that what it was before.
See you next season!!!
P.S A great comparison that has come to my attention over the weekend, is the strength of contact lenses. I can't tell you how many times I've had to hear, "you have bad eyes? Well, gee, let me tell you how bad mine are". For years people have been trying to 1-up me; but they are always floored when they hear where I am, in fact, they don't believe me half the time. So, for all of you out there that know your prescription and have worn contacts I'll let you in on how my eyes are, or were. Most people have lenses that are -1.00, or -4.00, maybe even -7.00. That is pretty bad, I'm not going to sugar coat it. Well, for all of you out there that think your eyes are bad, my prescription was -16.75. That is not a typo, I'll say it again, -16.75. I'm not going to go any further in to it because I don't have to. -16.75
I would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for making this happen:
The United States Olympic Committee
The United States Bobsled & Skeleton Federation
Wes Barnett
Brian Shimer
Dr. Scott Stoll
Orvie Garrett
John Ball
John Donovan
Marci Francis
John Rosen

Doug Bagley

Kevin Ellis
Valerie Fleming
Darrin Steele
Lisa Carlock
Ted Offit
Person Brian Shimer
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