Tuesday, March 1, 2011

mad respect for will vision

From the time I was an infant, I've had an eye condition called nystagmus. And while the cause isn't known, the way I understand it, it's some sort of impairment in communication between the eye and the brain that's responsible - which results in uncontrollable shaking of the eyes. I'm so accustomed to it by now that I hardly think about it, but I do notice it, because a lot of the time it makes things more challenging to focus on. Most nystagmus patients, myself included, often find that tilting their head in a certain way reduces the amount of twitching. It's hard for me to focus straight ahead, and partly why I dread having my picture taken or having a one on one conversation with someone that I don't know. It's hard for me to focus for any significant period of time without needing to turn my head to still the eye motion.

Anyway, on top of that, I've always had less than stellar vision and have often needed to wear glasses or contacts - over which, I often chose a blurry world. Through the years, I've visited LASIK centers around here, checking to see if I was a candidate, but none of them would perform the procedure due to the nystagmus.

A couple of months ago, I was looking online for some way of improving my vision, not having been to see an eye doctor in ages, when I came across a LASIK surgeon that has both the experience and technology to perform the treatment on patients like me. So, after having sent my vision records to the laser center and sending a flash drive with videos of my nystagmus in action for the doctor to take a look at, I was told that I would most likely be a good candidate.

With their office being so far away - Vancouver, WA (right outside Portland) - we scheduled an examination for last Wednesday, the potential surgery for last Thursday, and a post-op appointment for Friday - all of which I could do (and did) in one trip.

It's my fifth day post surgery, and as my vision becomes less and less blurry, I'm appreciating more and more the improvement to my vision - it wasn't immediately apparent to me. My vision is a couple of lines better on the eye chart, which I'm happy about, and the doctor was pleased with how my eyes handled the procedure. I guess it's still too early to know just how good it's going to get, but even if it remains how it is, I'd be happy. In all likelihood it's not ever going to be 20/20 but it's much better than it was before, so I consider myself blessed.

For awhile I thought my nystagmus might improve when my vision got better, but they're two separate conditions and there's not a cure for it. So I guess my restless eyes are here to stay. But no complaints! I have eyes - and eyes that can see more clearly now, at that.

I just wanted to give a shout out to Dr.Will and his staff because every single person I encountered on his team - whether through email, phone calls, or my actual visits - were so warm, professional, knowledgeable, and seemed to genuinely care about me and my experience with them.

I am so thankful that I was able to do this - and that it was with the people that it was.


  1. Congratulations Jeff. This is a triumph! I'm very happy for you.

  2. OMG--my parents live near there! Fabulousness all around. You are a very brave man, Jeff. I am totally chicken around the lasik issue. Congrats!!

  3. That's cool they were so nearby! Did they mention the little snowfall they had last week? Luckily, I didn't have far to go, so the roads weren't any trouble. I didn't really know what to expect with the LASIK, but it really wasn't bad. Thank you!