Dr. Paul Dougherty has done more to improve the quality of my life than any single person outside my family.
I am writing to share my story in the hope that it may encourage you to seek his guidance. If you have any questions about my experience, I encourage you to contact me by email at jon.sims_at_gmail.com.
My story is life-long, and as a result, this letter is not short. You may already know that Dr. Dougherty is a respected refractive surgeon experienced in treating rare and difficult eyesight conditions.
In 1977, when I was three years old, I was diagnosed with a tricky combination of severe farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. At the time, my refractive error measured about +8 in each eye. For the next seven years, these dual problems were treated using very thick glasses, but my vision never improved beyond 20/40.
In 1984, at the age of 10, my father had me fitted for contact lenses. While my eyes continued to improve, soft contacts never corrected my vision beyond 20/30. Moreover, the combination of severe astigmatism and the limitations of early lens technology meant that the quality of my vision varied significantly throughout the day, depending on how the toric (anti-astigmatic) contact lens fit on my eye at any particular moment.
At the age of 28, increasing dry-eye syndrome meant that the toric soft lenses I had come to depend upon rarely fit my eyes properly. Moreover, the soft lenses were blocking air from reaching my corneas; I was beginning to experience ??vascularization,? a process where blood vessels reach into the white part of the eye in an attempt to provide much-needed oxygen. I switched to hard lenses, which were wonderful from a vision standpoint: my eyesight was near 20/25 in each eye
My Search for a Solution
Around 2002, I began investigating Lasik. I was crestfallen to learn that Lasik was not a responsible alternative for someone with my dual conditions.
I took to the Internet, and learned about refractive surgeons in Europe who had been successful using various forms of implantable contact lenses for close to a decade. My curiosity turned to enthusiasm when I learned the success rates of these procedures were off the charts: over 99% in some studies.
I was convinced I??d found the solution. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2006, I sought out the top ophthalmologists and refractive surgeons in the country. Fortunately, many are located in southern California. They all told me the same things ??I??m sorry, but I can??t help you.?
All except for one.
I met Dr. Paul Dougherty in December of 2006. His entire attitude was different. Where other experts saw insurmountable challenges, he sought solutions.
??Helping? required Dr. Dougherty to directly contact STAAR medical, the manufacturer of a new implantable collimer lens (ICL) used to treat farsightedness. The lens had almost no market demand, and the company had come very close to discontinuing production. Yet, it was available? no other ophthalmologist or refractive surgeon I spoke with had made any effort to find out.
Next, Dr. Dougherty investigated how best to provide the lens. Because this specific lens had yet to be approved, we considered having me travel internationally for the surgery while having Dr. Dougherty provide pre- and post-operation care in the United States. In the end, Dr. Dougherty was able to enroll me in an FDA study, which allowed him to perform the procedure himself.
Dr. Dougherty implanted the STAAR Hyperopic ICL lenses in the spring of 2007. This corrected my refractive error, but since the lenses were not ??toric,? they could not address my astigmatism. A year later, in 2008, Dr. Dougherty performed a minor Lasik procedure, which eliminated all remaining astigmatism.
Two years later, my vision remains at 20/20 in my left eye, 20/25 in my right. My vision has never been better... not with glasses, not with toric soft lenses, not even with the ??gold standard? of hard contacts. Unlike toric soft lenses, my vision is consistent throughout the day and my corneas receive all the oxygen they need. Unlike hard lenses, my eyes are comfortable and bloodshot-free. Unlike thick glasses? well, you get the idea.
Dr. Dougherty changed my life.
I am now in the fourth year of a PhD program in managerial strategy at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. This challenging program has been made immeasurably easier because I can see. Thanks to consistent high-quality vision, my reading speed has increased.
I am a better student, and will be a better professor, because of Dr. Dougherty.
Mine is but one story. In the lobby of Dougherty Laser Vision, you??ll find a huge binder full of others. I encourage you to read these letters, do your research, and meet with Dr. Dougherty. Perhaps he can help improve your life, too.