How One Blind Man Finally Sees With His New Bionic Eye

A Great Advance in the Vision Care Industry

John Jameson lost his vision more than 40 years ago.  Now he can see again.  How did this happen?

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I remember watching The Six Million Dollar Man when I was a kid I in the seventies.  If you’re not old enough to remember, the TV series was about Steve Austin, an astronaut involved in a horrible crash.  Doctors and scientists were able to save him using robotic technology.  After his recovery, he had incredible strength and speed.  And, superior vision.  That was my favorite part.

Fast forward several decades.  The FDA has recently approved various forms of bionic eyes.  The general term “bionic eye” describes technology that allows people with poor vision to see again.  This includes retinal implants and miniature telescopes, among other technologies.

A Sight Restoring Surgery

According to an article on KYTX CBS19’s website, John Jameson regained his sight thanks to an implantable telescope.  He lost his vision the same decade Steve Austin was fighting bad guys on TV.  A fungal infection and a failed laser surgery took most of his sight.

The surgeon, Christopher Shelby, M.D. of WK Eye Institute in Shreveport, Louisiana, is one of the few surgeons who can do the procedure.

About four hours after his surgery, Jameson and his wife Deborah went to lunch.  Although she usually reads the menu to him, he took it from her and read it himself.  He hasn’t done that in over twenty years.  Even though he still struggles some with double vision, he improves daily.

He says every day he wakes up is like Christmas morning.  Here are a few other things he had to say after the surgery:

  • “The world is much prettier than I even imagined.”
  • “Every day I open my eyes and I’m anxious – what can I see today that I couldn’t yesterday?”

John Jameson lived for decades with very poor vision, through no fault of his own.  But notice what he did:

  • He kept a positive attitude.
  • He used his imagination to enjoy the beauty of the world around him.
  • He kept a good sense of humor (he even joked that he and Deborah’s first meeting was a “real blind date”).

It sounds like John was living the visual lifestyle in spite of his vision loss.  Now think about yourself.  Your vision is likely better than John’s.  If you enjoy clear vision, you should be doing what it takes to keep it that way.

Check out the sidebar and sign up to receive The Visual Lifestyle Checklist for free.  It’s a great start.

Question: If you received a science fiction style bionic eye, what would you want to see first?  Get creative, and answer in the comments section below.


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If You Were Losing Your Vision, What Would You Want to See First?

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7 Glasses You Need When You Don’t Need Glasses

Fun and Functional Nonprescription Eyewear

If you think glasses aren’t for you because you have clear vision, think again.  Americans buy over one hundred million pairs of nonprescription glasses every year, generating billions in sales.

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High Definition Vision

Years ago Ophthonix released the first custom high definition lens.  The iZon lens was astonishingly clear and ahead of its time.  It contained a gel that was “programmed” with a patient’s custom measurements the same way a CD (remember those?) was programmed with music.

The lens was so good I had patients with naturally clear vision order iZons to reduce night glare.  They were so clear, patients often looked around in awe when they first got theirs.

Unfortunately, Ophthonix no longer exists.  And although other companies have filled the gap, my iZon lenses are still some of my clearest.

Non-prescription Glasses Are Useful Too

The iZon is just one example of a valuable lens, even for someone who does not have a prescription.

In my last post I listed reasons people with clear vision might want glasses.  After decades helping people live the visual lifestyle, I have seen a lot of patients like that.  Their reasons include better focusing, gear for a sport or hobby, and just plain good looks.

I’ll continue exploring the concept in this post.  Here are 7 types of glasses you might want even if you don’t have a prescription:

  • Sunglasses.  Americans buy tens of millions of pairs of non-prescription sunglasses every year.  If you’re not one of them you’re missing out.  Looking good is essential, but make sure you choose sunwear that enhances your vision while blocking UV and blue light.  My favorite sunglasses are made by Maui Jim.
  • Safety glasses.  This one type of glasses could save your vision.  Find a pair that is large and sits close to your face to reduce gaps.  They shouldn’t fog or you won’t wear them.  I like the Virtua by 3M, either clear or tinted.
  • Recreational Glasses.  This is a broad category, and probably needs its own blog post.  Just remember if you have a favorite sport or hobby, there is probably a pair of glasses that will increase your performance or enjoyment of it.
  • Work Glasses.  This is also a large category because people work so many different ways.  Years ago I had a patient tell me she wanted here clearest vision “where she makes her money.”  We discussed how she worked and I was able to help her.  Glasses could help you at work too, whether you have a prescription or not.
  • Fashion glasses.  A friend of mine noticed the lack of “steppin’ out glasses,” at least for men.  Many people want to add eyewear as an accessory, just like they would shoes, a watch, or jewelry.  This is a great idea.  It’s the quickest makeover you can give yourself.  While looks may not be the most common reason to wear glasses, it’s very important for many people.
  • Dual-purpose glasses.  How about a pair that pulls double duty?  There are several lenses that darken outdoors, making them sunglasses by day and fashionable by night.  My new favorite is the Sensity lens by HOYA.  They’re as dark as sunglasses outdoors and clearer indoors than other brands.  (note: the link is to a European site because this lens is so new to the U.S.)
  • Glare free glasses.  I have many patients who have glare for various reasons.  High definition, glare free lenses work well for them even if they have no prescription.  These are most helpful at night.

These are just a few types of glasses people with naturally clear vision might enjoy.  If you’re living the visual lifestyle, you may be wondering if you could see better.  One or more of these may be right for you.

Question: How many pairs of glasses do you own?  Are they for a prescription or not?  Please comment below.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some links in the post above are “affiliate links.”  If you click on the link and buy the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.  But I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.  I am telling you this to comply with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

6 Reasons You Need Glasses Even When You Don’t

The Visual Lifestyle Is About More Than Just Clear Vision

Clear vision is important.  But what if your vision is already clear?  The longer you keep it that way, the better.  You can do a lot to protect and enhance your vision, even if you don’t need a prescription to see clearly.

What life experiences might be enhanced with custom eyewear?

What life experiences might be enhanced with custom eyewear?


My patients often ask, “Do I need new glasses?”  It’s a good question that usually means, “Is my vision ‘bad’ enough to need new glasses?”  But the answer is more than a simple yes or no.

So I will begin asking questions about how patients use their eyes.  I’ll evaluate their lifestyle and discover where their vision can be improved.  Many patients are surprised to hear that although they don’t require a prescription, they could still benefit from different types of glasses.

I can tell some patients hope the answer is no.  Maybe the cost or time involved can be a hassle.  But isn’t it worth updating something you use and enjoy every day?.

Still, I get it.  That’s why in The Eyewear Gallery at LaFollette Eye Clinic, we try our best to make buying new eyewear a fun and rewarding experience.  And the real reward comes when someone experiences the visual lifestyle like they never have before.

Here are six reasons you should consider wearing glasses even if you don’t require a prescription to see:

  • Short term eye health.  Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.  You can read about soccer star Mia Hamm’s struggle with UV damage here.  If you do need a prescription, don’t worry.  Prescription sunwear is just as effective.
  • Long term eye health.  A lifetime’s exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun can cause cataracts and macular degeneration.  And, we’re absorbing more harmful high energy blue light from our screens.  Sunwear and computer glasses can block both UV and blue light, preserving your eye health for the future.  You can wear these lenses even if you don’t need a prescription.
  • Eye safety.  Over the past twenty years I have seen and heard about some terrible eye injuries.  Almost all of them have one thing in common: lack of safety eyewear.  Even the smallest jobs can go wrong if you’re not wearing any.  Whether you need glasses to focus or not, they should be in your tool box at home and at work.  Ask your trusted eye doctor or optician to help you choose quality safety glasses.
  • Productivity.  Vision plays a vital role here.  If your work (or play) strains your eyes, custom glasses can focus exactly where you need them.  Your eyes will relax as the glasses do the work.
  • Eye comfort.  Glasses can relieve several types of irritation.  Sunwear or other glasses can be made specifically to keep wind and allergens out of your eyes.  This is one good way to help dry eyes and allergy eyes.
  • Sports and recreation.  I’ve prescribed custom glasses for golf, shooting, basketball, soccer, motorcycle riding, scuba diving, and a host of other sports and activities.  If your lifestyle involves a specific activity that eyewear could enhance, you’ll be glad you added sports glasses to your gear bag.

Be honest with yourself.  Are you doing everything you can to assure yourself you’ll have clear vision and comfortable, healthy eyes for a lifetime?  Don’t assume that because you can see well, you don’t need eye care (or glasses).

One of many benefits of proper self care is peace of mind.  You can’t have it about your eyes and vision if you’re not living the visual lifestyle.

Question: Can you think of other reasons to wear glasses, even if you don’t have a prescription?  Please tell me about them in the comments below.