Being diagnosed with keratoconus can lead to many questions and concerns about your personal and professional life. No matter where you work, the type of career you have, or the aspirations you might have for the future, you can manage your keratoconus and still reach your goals! 

Whether you are working part-time or full-time, in an office or at home, there are ways to make your work experience an enjoyable and successful one. Small changes like increasing the font size on your computer screen and following the 20-20-20 rule to avoid digital eye strain can make a big difference. 

Available treatment options for progressive keratoconus can also have a significant impact on your work experience. For some, using a pair of properly fitted contact lenses or receiving iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking to slow or halt the progression of their keratoconus can provide a sense of relief. Our community is filled with so many inspiring people who have overcome obstacles and challenges to receive a proper diagnosis and find treatment options that are right for them. With any medical procedure, there are potential side effects. Common ocular side effects include haze, inflammation, fine white lines, dry eye, disruption of surface cells, eye pain, light sensitivity, reduced sharpness of vision, and blurred vision. The iLink® procedure is not right for everyone so talk to your physician to discuss what treatment option is right for you. Below you will see we highlighted a few working professionals who shared their experience living and working with progressive keratoconus. Continue reading to learn more!  

Steven, Pastor

Living and working as a passionate pastor and father of two has always been a dream come true for Steven. However, he began to have trouble reading the bible to his congregation and had a difficult time recognizing people as their faces appeared blurry. His eyes began to feel irritated and itch constantly which made it extremely difficult to be in front of a crowd or simply relax with his family at home. These issues made Steven consider what his future might look like. He wondered if he could continue his career, and if not, how would he support his family. 

Steven knew he needed to tackle his vision issue, so he underwent multiple tests to discover he had progressive keratoconus. His doctor suggested iLink® as the best treatment option for him to slow or halt the disease. After listening to his doctor and following through with his cross-linking treatment, Steven felt a sense of relief and calmness knowing his eye disease was under control. He is continuing his career as a pastor, serving his congregation and spending time with family outdoors, going to the beach, reading books, and hiking. 

Dr. Eric, Pathologist

As a pathologist, Dr. Eric studies the origins and natures of diseases and diagnoses patients with cancer and other disorders, so having good vision is crucial. When his vision began deteriorating, Dr. Eric was worried about the future of his career, especially since his job is based heavily on looking through a microscope to analyze peripheral blood, biopsy, and patient tissue from surgery. He decided to visit an ophthalmologist where he learned that he was in the early stages of keratoconus. Initially, Dr. Eric turned to glasses and contact lenses, but unfortunately, after a few years, his keratoconus became progressive. It wasn’t until he received iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking on both eyes to slow or halt the progression of the condition that he felt comfortable and knew he could continue to perform and have a successful medical career. 

Shanice, Football Player

Growing up, Shanice was a talented athlete who dreamed of competing at the highest level. After playing four years of division one college basketball, she was offered a chance to play professionally in Switzerland. Upon her return to the U.S., Shanice was shocked to learn that she was living with progressive keratoconus and became worried about how this condition would affect her quality of life. 

During this time, Shanice was determined to stay active and started playing women’s professional tackle football. At the same time, she continued to learn about her progressive eye condition and the available treatment options, including Link. Shanice ultimately decided to move forward with the FDA-approved procedure to help with her long-term eye health. After receiving iLink®, Shanice hit the ground running and continued to play tackle football. Now, she is able to wear hybrid contact lenses for eight hours a day, helping to support her active lifestyle! 

Richard, Firefighter 

Working as a full-time firefighter and station captain at the fire department, Richard is faced with many challenges and responsibilities. However, being diagnosed with progressive keratoconus further complicated things as he was constantly dealing with smoke, dust, soot, and other debris in his eyes while wearing contact lenses. Richard was determined to figure out what treatment options were right for him. He soon discovered iLink® and knew that the FDA-approved cross-linking procedure would be best for his eye health in the long run and slow or halt the progression of his keratoconus. After his procedure, Richard’s eye doctor was pleased with the results and fitted Richard for new contact lenses. Now, Richard feels more comfortable knowing he has preserved his vision and can maintain his rewarding job as a firefighter.

Aaron, Truck Driver 

Aaron has had many ups and downs with his vision throughout the years. After graduating high school, Aaron suffered an unexpected and painful corneal rupture in his right eye. During treatment, the doctors determined the root cause of his vision problems was progressive keratoconus. Aaron received a corneal transplant to replace the damaged tissue in his right eye. Luckily, since his left eye was less severe, he researched other ways to manage his condition and decided on specialty lenses. 

As time went on, the vision in his left eye started to decline, and with a career as a semi-trailer truck driver, Aaron feared he might lose his job and his livelihood if he could not find a way to preserve his vision. His condition was affecting his driving skills. At times, he had to ask fellow drivers to help park his semi-trailer truck. However, Aaron did not give up and decided to receive iLink® to help slow or halt the progression of his keratoconus. After the procedure, he began wearing soft contact lenses to help him see more clearly and feel comfortable and confident getting behind the wheel.

Chris, Baseball Broadcaster

As a baseball fanatic, Chris always aspired to have a career playing ball. Unfortunately, he could no longer pursue playing the game because he had trouble visually tracking the ball and suffered chronic headaches. Instead, Chris started a career for himself in the front office and as a team broadcaster. However, he still faced vision challenges and could no longer drive at night because of his inability to see clearly. He visited various doctors and eventually found out he was living with progressive keratoconus. He was prescribed hard contact lenses. 

During the long bus rides with the team traveling to road games, his eyes increasingly became sore and dry. Despite the discomfort, Chris continued to wear the contacts because his vision was significantly worse without them. He struggled to see what was happening on the field, especially during night games, with the glare of stadium lights making it nearly impossible to tell long drives from home runs. Fortunately, Chris was introduced to a new eye doctor that educated him on treatment options such as iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking – which Chris decided would be the best decision for him. Following the procedure, Chris is back in the broadcast booth wearing scleral lenses and no longer dealing with his irritated eyes. He only wishes he discovered cross-linking sooner!

Nic, Airplane Mechanic 

As an airplane mechanic, Nic depends on his eyesight to inspect and repair airplanes. However, when his vision began to fail, he knew he needed to find a “fix” before it started impacting his work. Nic visited his optometrist, who informed him he had progressive keratoconus in both eyes and referred him for treatment. After meeting with an ophthalmologist, Nic learned more about his diagnosis and was relieved to discover there were treatment options available, including Intacs. However, the doctor would not perform the surgery unless his keratoconus stabilized. 

At this point, corneal cross-linking was still considered experimental and not yet approved by the FDA. Knowing this was the treatment path he wanted to take to stabilize his keratoconus, he waited for the procedure to receive approval in 2016. After receiving iLink®, Nic was able to resume his normal activities and proceeded with the Intacs surgery. Now he can continue with his career as an airplane mechanic and feel a sense of security after receiving the proper treatment. 

Bekah, Legal Secretary 

When Bekah went to her local DMV to renew her expiring driver’s license, she never expected she would fail the test due to her vision. With no previous issues, Bekah visited a local optometrist looking for some answers, but she faced more unexpected news when she learned she was living with progressive keratoconus. Her optometrist fit her for RGP contact lenses to help correct her vision. Bekah felt a sense of relief knowing the contact lenses would help her pass the vision portion of the driver’s test. 

For the next few years, Bekah focused on her young family and job as a legal secretary. However, one day she found herself relying on a magnifying glass to read the small print of legal documents. It was then that Bekah decided to research other treatment options for her progressive keratoconus, such as iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking. She decided to go through with the procedure on her left eye. Now, Bekah is glad to be back to her normal routine following her procedure and has made it her goal to keep a watchful eye on her triplets since the condition can be hereditary. 

Individual results may vary.

Working Through It

No matter where you are in your career, we understand that an unexpected keratoconus diagnosis can be a scary and confusing time. We hope that sharing these stories from other individuals gives you some relief, confidence, and understanding about working with keratoconus. Members of the Living with KC community are proof that progressive keratoconus does not have to hold you back, no matter your circumstances. Keep in mind that managing your keratoconus should be a top priority whether you’re at the office, on the road, or fighting fires! 

For more tips on managing keratoconus in the workplace, read our KC Expert Blog. You can also visit our website for more information on keratoconus and available treatment options, including iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking. Don’t forget to follow Living with KC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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