View Full Version : Quadriplegic savors joy of no more eyeglasses

12-04-2005, 01:39 AM
My friend and fellow support group member, Eric, read an article in New Mobility and called about this free procedure. They refered him to the doctor in the article. So call and find out who is doing this in your area. http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-eye01.html

Quadriplegic savors joy of no more eyeglasses

December 1, 2005
BY MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA (mihejirika@suntimes.com) Staff Reporter

It was a week before Thanksgiving, and Eric Johnson, a 31-year-old quadriplegic, was in the Loop office of ophthalmologist Colman R. Kraff, reflecting on God's gift of sight.
"Sometimes it's hard to describe to people what it's like not to be able to see without glasses. Everything is pretty much just a blob," said the Chesterton, Ind., man, who was partly paralyzed in a diving accident at the age of 22.
But Johnson, who has worn eyeglasses since elementary school, was to receive the gift that day through a new national program sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Started by academy member Dr. Robert Maloney of California -- the exclusive eye surgeon on ABC-TV's reality show "Extreme Makeover" -- Gift of Sight offers free Lasik vision corrective surgery to quadriplegics nationwide. It's available to patients over the age of 18 who have suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury and lost the use of their hands and/or arms, making it difficult or impossible to put on or take off glasses or contacts without assistance.
Paralyzed since '96

"I was reading this disability magazine, and there was this ad, 'Free Lasik for Quads.' My heart jumped. I've wanted it for years and years," said Johnson. "For the longest time, people were putting on and taking off my glasses. As for contacts, getting them out was far worse than getting them in, and painful, too."
According to the academy, 130,000 Americans are quadriplegics. Johnson, who is married and has a 9-year-old stepson, broke his neck when he dived into a shallow lake in 1996.
"Wearing glasses is an inconvenience for anyone. Just think how it's magnified if you don't have full use of your hands and/or arms," said Kraff, a partner and director of refractive services at Kraff Eye Institute, 25 E. Washington.
'This is just a miracle'

"They can't adjust them, clean them, put them on or take them off without help. When [Dr. Maloney] approached me about the program, I immediately said yes," said the ophthalmologist, who is also on staff at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
It is now almost two weeks later, and Wednesday, a very excited Johnson returned to Kraff's office for a checkup.
"Look up. Look way up," Kraff tells Johnson, whose eyes are pressed against a slit lamp microscope for examining.
"It looks great, Eric. It looks just perfect. How do you feel?" Kraff asks.
Johnson beams from ear to ear. "That very first morning afterward, I woke up and just started giggling. It was like, 'Wow! I can see!' I don't have to worry about how to get my contact lens on because my wife works and she's not always around. It takes me long enough to get ready in the morning, and now it's one less thing I have to agonize over. "I've wanted this for years, but I'm on disability and the expense was a barrier. This is just a miracle," he said.

12-07-2005, 09:36 PM
Is there any specific number to call for more info on this?

12-08-2005, 12:01 AM
Here is a link to more information:

Our goal is to do our best to find an experienced LASIK surgeon within 100 miles to do LASIK or vision correction surgery free of charge for quadriplegic patients.
For more information, call the Maloney Vision Institute 877-EYESIGHT or e-mail us at focus@maloneyvision.com (focus@maloneyvision.com)