Keratoconus Journey: Jack - Living with Keratoconus

Some people say things happen for you, not to you. This is what Jack learned when he found out he was living with progressive keratoconus. After his diagnosis and treatment with the iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking procedure, Jack decided to pursue a career that specializes in diagnosing and treating keratoconus. Today, as Jack enters his third year of optometry school at Indiana University (IU), he is continuing to learn about keratoconus and hopes to one day educate his patients about this progressive disease and the available treatment options.

Witnessing the Changes

Growing up in Chicago, Jack loved baseball. He began playing at a young age and continued to play throughout high school. Jack’s passion for the game was undeniable, but he quickly realized his ability to hit the ball was declining as he was struggling to see clearly. Realizing his eyesight was becoming a problem, Jack visited the eye doctor and was prescribed glasses. However, he only wore the glasses on occasion in class to help him see the board.

Despite his vision issues, Jack graduated high school and was accepted into Indiana University School of Optometry. Jack was excited to pursue his passion and dive into his studies, but there was one issue: his vision was worsening. He went from periodically using his glasses to now relying heavily on them to see the board. During class one day, Jack was scheduled to have a retinoscopy done by another student. The student performing the exam was having difficulty getting a good read on Jack’s eye and alerted the professor realizing that something might be wrong. As the professor took a closer look, they realized that Jack may have keratoconus and recommended he see an eye doctor for a comprehensive exam.

A Sudden Discovery

Not thinking much of it, Jack visited Dr. Katie Connolly at the Atwater Eyecare Center, IU’s own optometric clinic. There, he was diagnosed with progressive keratoconus. Jack shared this unexpected news with his family and was shocked to discover that his father was also living with the disease. After connecting the dots and researching more about keratoconus, Jack and his family learned that keratoconus could have a genetic association.

Following his diagnosis, Jack was deeply concerned that his keratoconus would jeopardize his optometry career. Fortunately, he was referred to Dr. Nathan Morrow of Indiana Eye Surgeons who was able to come up with a treatment plan for Jack. He suggested that Jack receive the iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking procedure to slow or halt the progression of his keratoconus and help preserve his vision. Being an optometry student and taking great interest in the subject, Jack did his research and decided that the FDA-approved procedure was the best option for him. Learning more about cross-linking calmed Jack’s nerves and gave him hope for his future! In November 2020, Jack’s left eye was treated.

Finding Inspiration

Moving forward, Jack is continuing his education at IU as an optometry student. To further his keratoconus knowledge, he attends speeches and webinars with physicians that are diagnosing and treating the disease. Through his curiosity and eagerness to learn more, he has made connections with physicians that understand the importance of early detection and treatment when it comes to keratoconus. Jack feels more comfortable and confident with his studies as he can continue to wear soft lenses or keep his glasses on hand if he needs them. He is looking forward to one day being able to diagnose and treat patients of his own. Jack is hopeful that his patients will feel a sense of relief and trust knowing that their physician has firsthand experience with keratoconus and treatment with the iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking procedure.

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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