As we celebrate our nation’s independence from foreign oppression, we celebrate our struggle to give our patients independence from the oppressive effects of blinding diseases. But first, a story from the life of one of my biggest heroes, George Washington, a leader of great humility and a true servant of the people in every sense of the word. When things looked the darkest for our fledgling country, General Washington had a most remark- able experience in the form of a vision; he was given to understand the greatness that lay ahead for America.
He later recorded a portion of the experience as follows:
“Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted: Three great perils will come upon the Republic. The most fearful is the third, but in this greatest con- flict the whole world united shall not prevail against her. Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land and the Un- ion.
When victory seemed impossible, he had but to remember this expe- rience; it gave him the strength and courage to press on, no matter how big the challenge. I am not and never will be a George Washington, but have of- ten reflected upon and been inspired by his life.
Sometimes you just know some- thing will work, so you press for- ward no matter what the obstacles in your path. Why else would I propose to my future wife twenty-four times be- fore she finally relented on pro- posal number twenty-five? I knew in my heart of hearts that we were supposed to be married to one an- other, so the obstacles she pre- sented were, in my mind, tempo- rary setbacks. Thirty-eight years, seven children and eight grand- children later, I believe she agrees!
Similarly, the first time I read of the Crystalens technology in 2000, I knew it would work. I immedi- ately called the inventor, Dr. Stuart Cumming and blurted out enthusi- astically, “I think you’re onto something here!” Stuart assured me that he was, indeed, onto something, and it has worked very well.
Now, 1800+ implantations later, this initial impression has been more than validated. The Crystalens is not perfect, but it is the best technology for restoring the most natural and functional vision possible at the time of cataract or lens exchange surgery.
In 1982, visionary IBM research- ers wondered if the excimer laser used in microchip manufacturing could sculpt biological tissue. In 1987, New York ophthalmologist Steven Trokel used the excimer laser to reshape corneal tissue. Through his vision, the LASIK procedure was born, a procedure we do frequently today to give our patients visual independence.