Patient Focus: Zach
Zach, a 29-year-old-man living with paralysis after a mixed martial arts injury, understands better than most that everything in life can change in the blink of an eye. Kugler Vision in Omaha, Nebraska, will provide laser vision correction to improve his quality of life at no charge through the national program Focus on Independence.
About one in 50 Americans live with some form of paralysis. For those with physical limitations affecting the arms and hands, contact lenses and glasses add another level of frustrating complexity to the daily routine.
In 2009, Zach was competing in his third amateur mixed martial arts fight. During the fight, he landed on his head, and in an instant, his quality of life was forever changed. He has now been living with paralysis for nine years. Today, he enjoys making memories with his 9-year-old son by doing outdoor sports together, including fishing, football, and dirt track racing. However, he has to rely on others for almost everything and is searching for ways to become more independent.
Zach has been wearing glasses since 2005. “Being in a wheelchair and not being able to move my fingers is a challenge in itself,” he says. “In order for me to itch my eye or clean my glasses, someone had to take them on and off for me. I don’t like the hassle of someone having to do that for me. LASIK sounded like a great opportunity, and I went for it.”
He first heard about Kugler Vision from seeing Kugler Vision patient chalkboard pictures on Facebook. After seeing a few of these chalkboard pictures populating his Facebook newsfeed, he decided to research LASIK to find out if he could be a good candidate and free himself from glasses.
Little did he know, Kugler Vision offers a program, Focus on Independence, just for people like him to improve their quality of life.
What Is Focus on Independence?
Focus on Independence is a nonprofit that seeks to improve the lives of people living with disability who cannot use their arms or hands to handle glasses and contact lenses. The program was founded in 2003 and offers services nationwide. Participating surgeons provide surgical vision correction for these patients, and with it, a new look at life. When Zach heard about Focus on Independence, he thought it was an amazing opportunity.
“I have told my family and friends that I am going to have laser vision correction, and everyone is really excited for me,” he says. “I am kind of nervous, but I know Kugler Vision patients have good results and that makes me pretty optimistic and happy. I can’t wait!”
Glasses will be one less thing for Zach to worry about or deal with. “People like me have to depend on others for almost everything,” he says. “Having clear sight without the need for glasses or contacts will be one thing to help make me more independent.”
A New View
Zach was excited to find out that he was a good candidate for laser vision correction. Zach is looking forward to a simpler, more independent lifestyle. Lance Kugler, MD, says: “Laser eye vision correction is one small thing we did to help him maximize his quality of life. He’s an inspiration to all of us, and it is a tremendous honor to be able to help him.”
Laser vision correction is life-changing. If you have questions and would like to learn more about how laser vision correction could change your life or about Focus on Independence, contact us at 402.558.2211.