Fairfax County Times (Fairfax, VA): Female Pro Football Player Overcomes Rare Eye Disease

Even though I’m living with KC, the ability to get the [iLink FDA-approved cross-linking] procedure has motivated me to stay active and to keep playing [football]. 

Shanice Cole, age 34

After graduating from college, Shanice Cole wanted to enlist in the military. However, she was diagnosed with progressive keratoconus during a routine eye exam. Although her condition ultimately prevented her from joining the military, it did not stop her from pursuing her love of football. Even still, Shanice worried that her condition could impact her blossoming athletic career. 

Wanting to take control of her diagnosis, Shanice made an appointment with Dr. Joseph Iuorno, an ophthalmologist at Commonwealth Eye Associates. During the appointment, Shanice learned about a treatment option that would slow or halt the progression of her condition and help preserve her vision. After Dr. Iuorno recommended that Shanice receive iLink​​® FDA-approved cross-linking, she didn’t hesitate to schedule the procedures and was treated in both eyes. Then, with specialty lenses in place to help improve her vision[1],[2], nothing was holding Shanice back from achieving her goal of becoming a professional football player. 

In fact, after competing at the IFAF World Championship as part of the U.S. Women’s Tackle Football National Team in late July and early August of 2022, Shanice and her teammates brought home the gold medal – something she never thought would be possible when she was first diagnosed with keratoconus! Prior to competing in the World Championship, Shanice spoke to the Fairfax County Times to discuss her experience with progressive keratoconus and the iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking procedure. You can read the full article here.

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


Find a Cross-Linking Provider Near You

Search the directory to locate a cross-linking provider 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.

[1]  Kreps, E. O., Pesudovs, K., Claerhout, I., & Koppen, C. (2021). Mini-Scleral Lenses Improve Vision-Related Quality of Life in Keratoconus. Cornea, 40(7), 859–864.

[2]  Baudin, F., Chemaly, et al.  (2021). Quality-of-Life Improvement After Scleral Lens Fitting in Patients With Keratoconus. Eye & contact lens, 47(9), 520–525.

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