As a former lead trombonist for 10,000 Maniacs, Levi is no stranger to the spotlight. However, behind the scenes, Levi was battling progressive keratoconus. Each day that his vision worsened, his passion for music started to slip away and he grew fearful of losing his musical talent. Thankfully, Levi found a physician that introduced him to the iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking procedure, and he regained the confidence and desire to make music!

Early Warnings Signs

At the young age of 16, Levi unexpectedly failed a vision test administered by the nurse at his high school. As a teen, he didn’t take this seriously since he did not notice that he had poor vision. However, his mother insisted that he go for another eye exam with his physician. During the eye appointment, his doctor speculated that Levi might have keratoconus but did not give a formal diagnosis. Instead, Levi was given glasses, which he did not want to wear. At this point, Levi began to notice vision changes when riding in the passenger seat of his mother’s car and realized the headlights and street lights looked blurry. This still did not motivate Levi to wear his glasses. Instead, he carried on and passed his driver’s test without corrective lenses.

A Temporary Fix

When Levi turned 18 and was visiting family in Denver, Colorado, he made an eye appointment with a doctor at his mother’s suggestion. For the second time, Levi was told that he might have keratoconus, but this physician was also unsure. He received another new prescription, and this time Levi wore his glasses. Even with the new prescription, Levi was struggling to read the music on his stand, but his passion led him to places he never thought he would go. In 2003, Levi became the lead trombonist for the band 10,000 Maniacs, which was a dream come true!

Crushed Dreams

Unfortunately, things soon began to shift for Levi. His vision worsened and forced him to step away from music. In 2008, Levi played for 10,000 Maniacs for the last time. He felt disappointed and frustrated that his eyesight had cost him his career. After investing his entire life in music, Levi was heartbroken he could no longer live out his dreams. Although it was difficult to accept, this setback pushed him to finally get his eye health under control.

In 2013 at the age of 28, he was officially diagnosed with progressive keratoconus. Levi’s doctor gave him rigid gas permeable lenses which Levi wore for several years before switching over to scleral lenses. After some time had passed, his vision began to worsen, and Levi turned to his eye doctor for help. That was when he recommended that Levi visit a specialist – Dr. Robert F. Haverly of Laser Eye Surgery of Erie. After discussing treatment options with Dr. Haverly, the pair decided that the iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking procedure was the best option for Levi to slow or halt the progression of his keratoconus. Without hesitation, Levi underwent cross-linking for his right eye on June 29, 2022, and his left eye on August 30th, 2022 at the age of 37.

Finding His Passion Again

Following the procedures, Levi is feeling positive and excited about life again! Career-wise, Levi has found great success in the restaurant industry, particularly in food sales, which means he has to travel quite a bit. With a new outlook on life, he tells us his passion for music has returned and he is eager to pick up the trombone again. Feeling more confident, Levi has been able to play sports with friends and has even found the time to renovate his home. Levi will soon get fitted for new lenses once his corneas have fully healed.

Find an iLink Expert Near You

Search our physician locator to find a corneal specialist who is familiar with treating progressive keratoconus. 

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. 

 

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