Living with Keratoconus? You’re Not Alone! Five Celebrities Who Know What’s It’s Like
As far as eye diseases are concerned, keratoconus is relatively common; studies have shown that it affects approximately one out of every 2,000 people. Still, if you recently received a diagnosis of this progressive condition, you may feel alone if no one you know has received a similar diagnosis. The good news is that living a full, unencumbered life with keratoconus is entirely possible. A thinning of the cornea characterizes Keratoconus, which causes its usually round shape to bulge outward into a conical shape. This shape, in turn, causes refraction errors to the light entering the eye, distorting vision. Individuals with keratoconus typically need specialty contact lenses, such as scleral lenses—to correct their vision.
If you are feeling alone due to your keratoconus, take comfort in knowing that these five very famous, very successful celebrities have been precisely where you are now.
- Stephen Curry: It’s not easy to drain three-pointers without a clear vision, but that hasn’t stopped Stephen “Steph” Curry from becoming one of the foremost basketball players of his generation. As a point guard for the Golden State Warriors, Curry has won three NBA championships, been named the NBA MVP twice, and featured in the NBA All-Star Game on six occasions. He’s helped make the three-point shot a more crucial part of basketball and has often been called the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA. What many people don’t know is that he did it all with keratoconus; Curry wears contact lenses during every game.
- Mandy Patinkin: Mandy Patinkin is a famous actor, best known for his role as Inigo Montoya (“You killed my father, prepare to die!”) in the 1987 fantasy adventure film classic The Princess Bride. He also suffered from keratoconus for many years and initially feared that he was going blind. He wore contacts for 15 years and had his eyes checked regularly, before ultimately undergoing corneal transplants in 1997 and 1998.
- Brandon Williams: A defensive tackle for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, Brandon Williams has been playing football professionally since 2013. He has racked up more than 250 tackles, one defensive touchdown, and several sacks, fumble recoveries, and pass deflections. Growing up, Williams had no vision problems at all. Suddenly, after reaching the NFL, he found himself experiencing vision problems—to the point where he couldn’t make out the numbers on the scoreboard. Though initially afraid that keratoconus would impact (or even end) his career, Williams ultimately went on to solve the problem with a surgical procedure in 2018.
- Tommy Pham. A professional baseball player, Tommy Pham plays today as an outfielder for the San Diego Padres. He has previously played for two other MLB teams: the Tampa Bay Rays, from 2018 to 2019; and the St. Louis Cardinals, from 2014 to 2018. His 2017 season batting performance with the Cardinals was the strongest the franchise had seen in over a century, with 23 home runs, 22 doubles, 25 stolen bases, and a batting average of .306. Pham has achieved success despite his keratoconus; he has been wearing contact lenses since 2009.
- Diamond DeShields. Diamond DeShields, a professional WNBA basketball player, is known in part for the signature sports goggles she wears during games. Those goggles are there to protect DeShields’ eyes, as well as the scleral contact lenses she uses to correct the vision distortion caused by her keratoconus. The lenses and the goggles together have made DeShields a more confident and effective shooting guard. She was drafted by WNBA team the Chicago Sky in 2018, averaged over 14 points a game during her first season, and earned All-Rookie Team distinction for the season. Her next season, she was named a WNBA All-Star.
If you believe you may have keratoconus, or want help achieving better vision despite the condition, contact Miami Contact Lens Institute today.
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