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Diegan’s Journey Part 2: The First Few Nights of VRS

 

 

 

 

 

By: Liz Lyons

And so the story continues….

After convincing Diegan that he could give up his glasses and still look cool, we decided that the week of Thanksgiving would be best for Diegan to start his Vision Reshaping System (VRS).  He would be off school and we would be around to monitor his vision during the day.  As a parent, I was honestly nervous because I still vividly recall the time I had to flush something out of Diegan’s eye – catching a cheetah would have been easier!  This is why having an eye doctor as a Dad comes in handy…“Of course Dad can put in your contacts.”  And on that Wednesday night, reluctantly, Diegan kept his eyes open and remained still enough to get the contacts in.

I had not anticipated my motherly concern as he sat there seemingly in discomfort, the sensation amplified by our 9 PM fatigue.  I also had not anticipated the tear-filled 4 AM wake up call to “take them out, they hurt!”  Equally and if not more, did I not anticipate the excitement (still at 4 AM) when Dad removed his lenses and Diegan could still see clearly!  Thankfully, we all went back to sleep and the next day Diegan went to the Aquarium without his glasses.  He made it until about noon that day before the initial VRS treatment wore off and he needed to put his glasses back on for clear vision.

Night 2 was a lot easier.  Like anything, we had learned from our first try and on night 2, we let Diegan watch TV while Dad first put in numbing drops and then the contacts.  Diegan slept all night with the lenses in and once again, upon removal of the VRS lenses, experienced crystal clear vision.

 

That morning he enjoyed our annual Thanksgiving Day walk without glasses.  He also made it the majority of Thanksgiving Day without his glasses.  We couldn’t help ourselves to obsessively and repeatedly ask him, “Can you see that?  Now how can you see?  Diegan, can you still see?”  The wonderment of the treatment was really sinking in.  We helped so many people over the years with VRS at the practice, but to live it as a parent was an entirely different emotional experience.

 

On day 3, our curiosity brought us to Focal Pointe Eye Care so we could check Diegan’s vision on an eye chart.  Let me remind you that Diegan is only 8 and he did not find any of this as exciting as we did – he found the insertion process at night to be an annoyance, he missed “his look” with his glasses, and he certainly didn’t want to get his eyes checked on his day off school.

But then something happened.

With a smile ear-to-ear, a little boy ran from the exam room and over to me to give me a big hug and said “Mama, I AM 20 FOR 20!”  There are no words to express the instantaneous gratitude that I felt as the magnitude of giving vision to our son pierced my heart.    Now, it was my turn to cry a little.   Diegan kept his vision all day that day…and the next…and the next. Finally, I understand why his Dad is so excited about VRS and why I am so lucky to be part of this opportunity to give vision, not only to the ones I love, but to the countless patients I do not yet know.  What an amazing Thanksgiving we had.

But now, how do I get Diegan to go to school without his glasses on Monday?

-LL

Meet Diegan – VRS Journey

Hi, this is Diegan. Diegan is a little special to us, not only because he is Dr. Lyons’ son, but he is one of the youngest members of our Vision Reshaping System (VRS) program. Diegan is 8 and has a passion for eyewear just as much as the rest of us here at Focal Pointe. Check out his wardrobe of eyewear:

You may be asking yourself, “Why is this important?” Well… shortly Diegan will not need his glasses! YUP, you read that right, NO GLASSES, no soft contact lenses, and no surgery. How is this possible?!? The answer is our VRS program. VRS is a form of overnight vision correction, similar to wearing a retainer for your teeth, where custom contact lenses are utilized to temporarily reshape the cornea and allow nearsighted folks, like Diegan, to see without correction during the day. The VRS lenses are inserted at night, worn during sleep, removed in the morning and – BAM!- clear vision throughout the day without glasses. The program produces similar results to LASIK, however, VRS is reversible and noninvasive.

The coolest part of the story is to follow, and is exactly the reason why we are introducing Diegan and his VRS journey to you. Diegan is currently 20/100 without glasses and wears -2.00 lenses to correct his vision. Research shows that as Diegan ages and physically grows in height that his
prescription will continue to increase and his vision worsen. VRS has been found in multiple studies to slow this progression. Meaning, if Diegan continues the program throughout his teen’s and then decides to stop wearing the lenses and return to glasses, his prescription may not be much worse than it is today! For Diegan, this is life changing. Yes, he will always need some correction, but he will never be 20/1600 or a -7.00, like his dad.

To emphasize the magnitude of this difference in prescription, a person with a -7.00 prescription cannot see the well-known “E” on the eye exam chart. In comparison, a person with a -2.00 can fully function without any glasses; life is just a little blurry.

I know, as a parent myself, we try to do all we can for our children. We give them vaccines from an early age to help prevent them from obtaining diseases. We get them braces to fix crooked teeth. Now, finally, we can help change vision and not just aid it. We can STOP their prescription from progressively getting worse throughout their adolescence.

Although we have this amazing therapy available, I have to be honest…Diegan is not thrilled. He likes wearing his glasses (what can we say, he takes after his father) – he loves glasses! Not to mention, he does not want to wear contacts. Nevertheless, sometimes parents know best; and on the night of November 22, 2016, Diegan started his journey to new vision. His story will continue, but for now, I leave you with the knowledge that there is a non-surgical therapy that allows you to have 24 hour vision that keeps your vision from getting worse. How amazing is that?

-Rachel, LDO

The Bad Review – Embrace Change

I’ve been in a writing slump since July. A former patient recently left a poor review of Focal Pointe Eye Care on a popular business review website, and to be quite honest… it got to me.

I went through a variety of emotions initially, trapped an eddy of disappointment and self-doubt, wondering if I did the right thing by opening my business. It’s not that I have thin skin – I can usually take a lot. After all, I’m the one that “embraces change.” This particular review, however, stunned me. It called me out by making assumptions of what had happened during her examination and events that followed. I became defensive and discouraged that someone would write such a negative thing about me and my practice.

My first pair of glasses came at age 6. I will never forget that first time I put them on and could see the world again. The leaves on the tree never looked so clear. What an experience! Since then, I have lived through my share of exam “experiences,” some good, some fell short. With the mission of creating an “eye care experience like none other,” I founded Focal Pointe Eye Care based on the patient experience. It is what I dreamt of during Focal Pointe’s early conception, and it is what I focus on daily.

And…

This is why the review bothered me. I expect everyone to have a great experience at my practice, because I built my practice through my vision.

Over my years in healthcare, one of the most important things that I’ve learned about myself, and human nature in general, is that we live our lives through our own filter. This is our perception of how we view the world that is presented to us. The perception versus the reality of any given situation is subconsciously altered without our knowing. It then becomes our truth.

I thought I had built a practice that was meeting my patients’ expectations [my filter]. But, maybe not everyone was having a positive experience, and that’s where a component of my vision was ineffective. I wasn’t removing my filter enough to appreciate the view of others, especially someone that was stepping into my vision for the first time.

So, after dwelling over this review, I have learned that this negative review wasn’t so negative. It was her telling her story through her filter. I had to remove my filter to appreciate the review and understand that being in health care makes me vulnerable to criticism, especially during a time where social media dominates our lives. But the criticism is the knowledge I need to continue to learn and make my vision clearer and stronger. And with that knowledge, comes the reward of helping people see, and every so often, prescribing other 6-year olds with their first pair of glasses and creating their vision.

For you, the bad reviewer, I do apologize that you had such a bad experience. I really do strive for perfection, and I let you down. In the same breath, thank you for giving me focus and the energy to be even better. And for all of you that have taken time to write positive reviews, I am forever grateful and indebted to you. I thank you. And as I continue failing forward, I will forever be embracing change to create an “eye care experience like none other.”

EHR – Embrace Change

In the last ten years there are 3 known letters, said in a particular order, that will cause even the strongest physician to become nauseous and weak in the knees – E. H. R.

Of course I’m speaking of Electronic Health Records. EHR (or as my auto spell check to this date still corrects to “HER”) is an abbreviation that, in theory, should be a cause for celebration. Imagine a system that successfully and efficiently gathers all of your health data, including allergies, medications, and past diagnoses, and is able to seamlessly communicate this data with all of your other health care providers. Keep imagining…at least for now.

EHR has become essential in this area because it has now been incorporated into almost every medical office in the Dayton, Cincinnati, and northern Kentucky region. The reason being is that this area represents a unique blend of providers and health care coverage that is considered an “average” cross section of the United States by Medicare. In 2010, this region was chosen to participate in the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, a Medicare-sponsored program designed to study the impact of physicians practicing more efficiently while incorporating a variety of different systems in how health care is delivered, one of which is EHR (https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/comprehensive-primary-care-initiative/).

Since opening Focal Pointe in 2008, I always envisioned my practice utilizing EHR – paper records never made much sense to me. Like any new technology, there are always bumps in the road. Doctors are required to adjust to the EHR more than the EHR can adjust to how doctors practice. And what most health care providers have quickly realized with EHR, including myself, is that charting on the computer is almost always slower than a handwritten note, and we are now forced to click through a series of menus instead of focusing on the task at hand, which should be patient care.  To overcome this, I do what many offices have done – I utilize a technician in the exam room so my eyes are focused on you, and not a monitor.

In 2012, I decided to make my first change in EHR software because I was frustrated that my original software was not staying up to date with some of the latest technologies in the industry. I interviewed dozens of companies and narrowed it down to two. Again, the one I chose out of the two was providing great technology for the time. However, I saw a consistent drop off in innovations in 2015; so in May 2016, I brought on our third software company in 8 years. Ironically, this EHR company is the exact same one that I determined to be the “runner-up” 4 years ago (bummer).

Remembering my moto, “Embrace Change,” I always look at these challenges through my “positive goggles.” The challenge of launching new EHR is quite possibly the toughest for any office, though.  The shift of EHR software impacts every aspect of the office, from the time you call to schedule an appointment, to the time you leave with your new glasses or contact lenses. So those of you that have visited my office in the last month, I say thank you for your patience and understanding as we embrace this change in order to provide better service to you. EHR will continue to evolve and bring us closer to that seamless health care. And all of us at Focal Pointe will continue to smile and work hard, and each day will get better as we get better. That I promise you.

-Dr. Mike