A Scleral Quantum Leap

Those who know and love me, along with those who have read my series on scleral lenses, have some idea of how much they improve the quality of my life. To go from putting up with ointment-smeared blurry vision to avoid dry-eye pain to clear and usually comfortable vision was nothing short of miraculous. Sclerals rock!

I first heard about LaserFit lenses when Dr. Greg Gemoules commented on one of my web posts. The best way to learn about LaserFit is to poke around his website, but in short, rather than relying on hit-and-miss trial lenses, Dr. G uses computers to precisely measure the surface of each eye to design customized non-rotational lenses. I was intrigued by the concept of computer-designed customized lenses, but at the time I could not justify the trip. It remained in the back of my mind as a possibility, however, and late last year a number of variables fell into alignment, allowing me to schedule an appointment.

The most difficult part of the process was not wearing my prior set of scleral lenses for a week leading up to my initial appointment with Dr. Gemoules. Because the surface of the eye is malleable, this period of rest is essential to the best fit. Despite the discomfort at work and on the flight, I made it through. Coppell Family Eye Care has a medical rate arrangement with a local motel that supplies a shuttle service to the airport, eye clinic, and other attractions within a three-mile radius, including nearby Grapevine, Texas.

The Monday appointment is the longest at about two hours, during which Dr. G does a comprehensive eye exam and takes the digital measurements to design a first set of lenses. The staff schedules no more than three exams for any given week so that each patient may be allotted all of the time needed for a successful outcome. Patients come from all over the United States and worldwide – there was a young man from China visiting the same week that I did. Custom made lenses arrive from the lab by about 2:00 p.m. the next afternoon. For the remainder of the week, Dr. G checks visual acuity and the fit of the lenses during follow-up visits that last about half an hour. In my case, the fit of the first lenses was excellent, but needed some adjustment for sharper vision.

Each subsequent set of lenses improved my distance vision. By mid-week, Dr. G experimented on designing multifocal LaserFit lenses since that was what I was used to with my prior scleral lenses. Unfortunately the multifocal aspect came at the expense of distance acuity, so we reluctantly gave up on the idea. Dr. G had warned me from the outset that I would lose near vision, but I had not expected the change to be so dramatic. He suggested trying monovision (one lens designed for distance and one for near vision) but just as when I had LASIK surgery, I prefer to have both eyes corrected for distance. After trying and rejecting various types of over-the-counter readers, I eventually bought a pair of glasses with progressive lenses that have no distance correction for wearing at work.

Dr. G recommends a different care routine than I was using for my previous scleral lenses. He prefers Clear Care® hydrogen peroxide solution (although not Clear Care Plus®). LaserFit lenses are larger than the maximum recommended for the Clear Care® case, but carefully centering the lens in the basket enables its use. Do be very careful, though, not to let the lens basket snap shut as this can cause the lens to snap as well.

Other noteworthy tidbits:

  • Because LaserFit lenses are designed to exactly follow the contour of the eye, they do not rely on suction and are therefore much easier to remove.
  • It’s very very important to check with your vision insurance before booking an appointment. VSP, for example, pays hardly anything toward the lenses or the exam.
  • Updated lenses may be over-refracted by another eye care professional (I am less than a year out and have not done this yet).

Despite the time and expense, and even though I was relatively successful with rotational scleral lenses, I would do LaserFit again in a heartbeat. Sclerals rock, and Dr. G is a rock star!

More Haiku

Pick your favorite:

 

If one can’t say it
in seventeen syllables,
one may be verbose.

 

Good night and sweet dreams.
May tomorrow be better
and God bless us all.

 

I do not like cold,
save one redeeming factor:
cat curled up in lap.

 

Awakened refreshed
to a glorious spring morn;
all’s well with the world.

 

I helped a turtle
cross a busy street at noon;
My life has purpose.

Photography in Motion

Tonight was Photo Club night. I’ve missed a few meetings lately for one reason or another, but I am making it a priority this year. As usual though, I have let the busyness of life get in the way of prepping for Photo Club and I found myself once again scrambling to put together entries for tonight’s theme of “Motion.”

Between getting off work and the 7:00 start time, I managed to find entries for the color and b&w print categories, plus two for the projected category. Hasty edits and crops and an even hastier dash to Walgreens to pick up the prints and race to the meeting. Our presenter this evening was a renowned Missouri photographer who has exhibited in the White House and published several books. When the contests started, one of the club officers asked him if he would critique the entries in projected category, THEN asked if entrants had any objections. Heck YES, I have objections. Heck NO, I’m not going to voice them. The gentlemen informs us that he is a gentle critic, only harsh when his students obviously started preparing at the last minute. Nuts! Fudge! Other exclamations that I do not allow my children to use so I try to avoid using as well!

Fortunately mine are toward the end. Most of his critiques involve cropping. I can handle cropping. I like to crop. Make that . . . I live to crop!

First entry: needs cropping. Does not mention how woefully overexposed it is (thank you very very much). Second entry: he likes it! He really, really likes it! The red uniform of the soccer player grabs your attention and is complemented by the blue scoreboard, which he is happy is not cropped out. The green grass provides a neutral background (although a little could be cropped out, I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that). The graffiti provides a counterpoint to the information on the scoreboard and the black background shows that this is after all an athletic event taking place at night. His final comment: this is not the type of photo that is published in the newspaper the next day, but it is the type to win the contest at the end of the year.

And I live to shoot another day. Thank you thank you thank you thank you

“Thin Blue Line” Kumihimo Bracelet

thinblueline

 

In less than a month, my son will leave for college to pursue a degree in criminal justice. I am both immensely proud of him and terrified. So when a friend of mine created a simple bracelet of paracord and sliding knots in support of our police forces, I was inspired to pull out my long-neglected craft stash and design a copycat kumihimo bracelet. My objective was to design a pattern for a thin bracelet that is easy to modify according to skill level and available materials. The bracelet shown took three to four hours to complete, including gathering supplies.

Materials:

  • 1 skein of blue embroidery floss or craft thread, or 8 yards of yarn, ribbon, raffia or similar material
  • kumihimo disk (foam or cardboard, manufactured or DIY)
  • needle threader or floss threader
  • fastener (optional)
  • four 6/0 beads (optional)
  • lead weight (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut embroidery floss into four equal lengths or measure and cut four two-yard lengths.
  2. Thread each strand through one side of a fastener (the bracelet pictured above features a toggle clasp). Alternative: tie an overhand knot at the center of the strands, creating a small loop.
  3. Push the fastener or loop through the hole in the kumihimo disk and set up for an 8-strand braid (directions here if needed).
  4. Braid to desired length, using an optional weight to keep the braid taut. The bracelet pictured is about 7.5″ long.
  5. Finish by threading half of the ends through the remaining side of the fastener and tying into a square knot. Groups of two strands of floss may be threaded through a bead (as shown), then knotted and cut off. Alternative: braid ends into two strands and knot them through the loop on the other side, or make an overhead knot big enough to fasten through the loop, or tie on a button.

May God bless those who serve and protect.

Think About It

There is a certain irony to the fact that I did not become a certified Boy Scout merit badge counselor until after my own son completed his Eagle. I am now teaching Personal Management to the future leaders of our fine country. I started them off with Time Management – goals and prioritization. First point – don’t let anyone tell you their time is more valuable than your own. If that were true, God would have given them more than 1,440 minutes in their day.

JosephHartmanEagle

Interesting Dinner Conversation at the Hartman’s

Laura, peering into a paper-wrapped packet – “Dad! Is that weed?!?”
Phil – “No, those are onions.”
Hanna – “Laura, I don’t think Mom and Dad keep weed around here.”
Phil – “Sure we do. I have a 50-pound bag.”
Sara, choking on her wine – “Where exactly do we have 50 pounds of weed?”
Phil – “In the basement.”
Sara, Laura, Hanna, and Ryan stare at Phil incredulously.
Phil, in confusion – “I have a 50-pound sack of wheat in the basement. So what?”