Derek always wanted to be a pilot in the armed forces and joined the ROTC to help secure a position in the Air Force. However, his dream seemed to be in jeopardy when he learned that he was living with progressive keratoconus during his flight certification. This diagnosis left Derek heartbroken as he knew it could prevent him from being a pilot, or even from being in the Air Force altogether.

Following a second opinion and a referral to a keratoconus specialist, Derek made an appointment with Dr. Brock Hansen, an ophthalmologist at Utah Eye Centers. After explaining progressive keratoconus further and discussing the available treatment options, Dr. Hansen recommended that Derek receive iLink​​, the only FDA-approved cross-linking procedure. iLink is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure meant to slow or halt the progression of keratoconus to help preserve vision.

Derek was unsure of the treatment, at first as he was fearful of what it might mean for his career in the Air Force, but his wife convinced him to go through with the procedure. After treatment, Dr. Hansen now believes Derek’s vision is good enough to fly planes commercially with the Federal Aviation Administration, but it is unclear if the military will give him full approval. Still, Derek remains hopeful that one day he will be able to fulfill his dream.

Derek and Dr. Hansen recently spoke to Deseret News to discuss their experiences with progressive keratoconus and FDA-approved iLink cross-linking procedure. To learn more, you can read the full article here.

For additional information on keratoconus and the FDA-approved iLink cross-linking procedure, or to read more Keratoconus Journeys like Derek’s, follow Living with KC on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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The results described on this site are based on data collected regarding short- and intermediate-term efficacy of treatment. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.