The First US Reported INTACS Patient, 1999 Experience
When I started college I became an Ocean Lifeguard. At school, I found it was becoming harder to focus on textbooks. I had my eyes checked and I was diagnosed with astigmatism in one eye and I started wearing glasses while studying. Those glasses for reading books became prescription sunglasses at work, as lifeguarding became my chosen profession. When running out for a rescue, I would often lose them as I threw them on the beach.
I tried soft lenses, but the wind blowing sand into my eyes made this very uncomfortable.
When laser eye surgery became available, I was discouraged to learn that I had keratoconus and was not a candidate for LASIK. I was very frustrated with my problem. I came across an article and some studies by Dr. Brian. I was optimistic after my first meeting with him in 1999. A week after surgery, my vision improved to a great degree. It has now been about eleven years since I had Intacs and I still do not wear corrective lenses.
The freedom I have gained and the confidence I now have in my vision has proven invaluable. The ability to see well in lifeguarding is critical, and I no longer have the worry that I might miss something that could result in someone’s pain, suffering, or death.
I owe this self-assuredness to Intacs.
I feel fortunate to have been at the right place at the right time in history. I can appreciate the saying, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
I am glad that my pioneering experience helped pave the way for the thousands of other patients who have subsequently benefited from innovative advancements for Keratoconus.
It is now 2009 and my vision has remained stable and excellent.
– Kenny Atkins, first reported Intacs for Keratoconus patient in the United States
The Incredible Steve Holcomb Story . . . From Blindness to Olympic Gold
Since he was a kid, growing up in Park City, Utah, Steve Holcomb dreamed of Olympic gold and it wouldn’t be long before he learned to tame the power and speed of one of the world’s most dangerous sports, bobsledding. Steve climbed up the ranks of bobsled drivers and led the US to solid finishes in the 2006 Olympic Games. The future was bright. But in 2007 a blinding eye disease changed everything. Steve explained, “I was diagnosed with Keratoconus. My eyes started to degenerate over time. In 2007 I was at the point where either I was going to lose my vision or have a cornea transplant. And either way it was going to put me out of the sport.”
Dreams of Olympic gold could be gone forever. Steve was devastated, but took one last chance when his team doctor sent him to Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler for C3-R®. After C3-R®, Insertable Contact Lenses were placed behind Steve’s iris, restoring Steve’s vision to 20/20 and giving him a chance to make an amazing comeback. After the procedure Steve said, “Once you’re able to see and things open up again you’re a lot more confident. I can go out there and drive and use my skills the way that they’re meant to be used.” And those skills were meant to earn the United States its first Olympic gold medal in bobsledding in 62 years. Steve explained, “I’ve focused on winning a gold medal since I was a kid and to actually be sitting here with a gold medal is kind of unreal.”
Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler said, “As soon as Steve and his team were announced as the winners of the gold my emotions just overtook me. I was sobbing, tears streaming down my face. I was hugging everybody.” But even more powerful was the response from the American public and from people all over the world who wrote thousands of emails and letters to share how Steve’s story inspired them to reach new heights of their own. Steve says, “I was given a ‘second chance’ and now SO MANY other people can also have a ‘second chance’ with these procedures that Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler has performed almost daily since 2003 for patients coming from around the world.” Due to the worldwide recognition Steve brought to the C3-R® procedure, it was renamed “Holcomb C3-R®” on The Doctors TV show on April 9, 2010. This marked the first time a procedure was named in honor of an Olympic athlete. Steve and Holcomb C3-R® are now world-famous.