At 25, Air Force Veteran Goes from Legally Blind to 20/20 Vision in 20 Minutes – Thanks to LASIK
- Posted on: Apr 12 2016
LASIK eye surgery because she didn’t take her eye health seriously. It wasn’t
until a corneal ulcer caused by sleeping in her contacts nearly ruled
her out as a candidate for LASIK that everything clicked.
To take find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK, call (214) 220.3937 or schedule a consultation with our LASIK eye surgery specialists here.
Rebekah describes her dangerous (but not uncommon) mindset regarding contact
lens care prior to getting LASIK.
Just because your eyes don’t hurt, doesn’t mean they’re healthy
When she first started wearing contact lenses at age 13, Rebekah was diligent
about cleaning her contacts and replacing them according to her eye doctor’s
instructions. Then at 18, she left home to join the Air Force, where she
served honorably as an aircraft mechanic, working on F-16 fighter planes.
“I didn’t like how I looked in glasses, so I wore my contacts
all the time. But I didn’t like the responsibility of having to
take my contacts in and out, so I stopped. I didn’t replace my lenses
unless they felt really dry,” Rebekah says.
At that point, Rebekah estimates that she only swapped in new lenses every
two months on average. On top of that, she was sleeping in her contacts,
so her eyes never had the opportunity to rest or get the amount of oxygen
they needed to stay healthy. Plus, over this time period, dirt and bacteria
continued to build up on her contact lenses – and in her eyes.
Unfortunately, even a corneal ulcer didn’t faze her … at first
During her service at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona, Rebekah
started to feel discomfort in one of her eyes. That discomfort turned
out to be a corneal ulcer, which commonly results from
improper contact lens wear and care.
Corneal ulcers typically occur when a bacterial infection penetrates the
cornea. Dirty or worn contacts can scratch the epithelium of the eye,
allowing the bacteria to enter the eye. Symptoms may include pain, redness,
mild to severe discharge and vision loss. Some people even experience
long-term or permanent loss of vision.
According to Rebekah, “It constantly felt like there was a woodchip
in my eye, I couldn’t get it out and was in non-stop pain. It bothered
me for a month, and during that time I had to stop wearing my contacts.
When I visited the eye doctor on the base, she said, ‘You have an
ulcer on your eye.’ I didn’t even know you could get an ulcer
on your eye, I thought it was only a stomach thing.”
Rebekah’s corneal ulcer almost dashed her dreams of LASIK eye surgery
On a short leave from the Air Force, Rebekah visited her Dallas eye doctor
at Key-Whitman Eye Center,
Faisal Haq, M.D. Dr. Haq, an eye surgeon and corneal specialist, informed Rebekah that
she was lucky, and he was relieved the ulcer didn’t fall in the
area of tissue where the LASIK surgery would be performed.
Rebekah was also relieved. She knew LASIK was out of the question until
her vision remained stable for at least one year. But she didn’t
realize that the corneal ulcer could jeopardize her ability to have LASIK.
And if you ask anyone who knows Rebekah (full disclosure, her mom Miriam
is the Marketing Director at Key-Whitman) – they will tell you that
she’s been waiting to have LASIK ever since she was a young girl.
After a medical discharge from the Air Force last year, Rebekah returned
to Dallas to be close to family and pursue her dream of life without contacts
and glasses. With her eyes healthy, vision stable and Key-Whitman
President and Chief Surgeon Jeffrey Whitman, M.D.’s OK, Rebekah finally had successful LASIK surgery in Dallas this past January.
“I went from legally blind to 20/20 in 20 minutes. I was laying on
the operating table with Dr. Whitman talking to me, and the next thing
you know, I sat up and I could see,” says Rebekah with a big smile
on her face.
“Life after LASIK is so freeing”
Today, Rebekah has transitioned from her career as a Senior Airman in the
Air Force to a jet engine mechanic working on corporate aircraft. “I
loved serving in the Air Force. If it wasn’t for my medical discharge,
I’d still be in the Air Force today,” says Rebekah.
She also makes a point to caution other people her age to wear contacts
according to doctor’s orders and consider the
benefits of LASIK eye surgery.
Rebekah explains how LASIK changed her life dramatically and why there’s
no need to be nervous about the procedure.
Following recovery from her corneal ulcer and successful LASIK surgery,
Rebekah is thrilled to say that dry, blurry eyes and poor vision won’t
slow her down anymore. As she expounds, “It’s so freeing.
I don’t have to worry about my eyes anymore, I’m free to go
ahead and live my life.”
LASIK surgery outcomes are better than ever. Learn why patient satisfaction jumped from 60 to 96 percent in this past post.
LASIK means less to worry about at work and on her wedding day
Between scrambling for eye drops or finding protective eyewear to fit her
glasses, Rebekah’s contacts and glasses were a constant distraction
at work. Post-LASIK, that’s one less distraction she has to deal
with during the day, which makes her job easier.
She’s also glad she won’t have to worry about her eyes next
month, when she marries her fiancé Brice.
As Rebekah explains, “With contacts, my eyes would water and my make
up would run. Now I don’t have to worry about all of that ridiculousness
when I get married. LASIK was the greatest thing ever. Even several months
later, I’m still so excited about it that most days I’ll say
to my fiancé, ‘Babe – I’m not wearing contacts!’
I couldn’t be happier.”
If you have any questions about LASIK or would like to schedule a consultation
with one of our LASIK eye surgery specialists, please call (214) 220.3937
to speak with a Key-Whitman patient service representative. If you prefer
to contact us via our website, you can fill out our handy online appointment form here.
Posted in: LASIK