Patient: Elijah Thomas
Sight Restored: 2008
Growing up in a tough section of Brooklyn, NY, Elijah Thomas faced his fair share of challenges. “I joined the Coast Guard in 1997 because, quite frankly, it was safer for me than staying in my neighborhood.”
Elijah’s diagnosis of keratoconus in 2001 was the beginning of another challenging time. What followed was a seemingly unending series of eye exams and new prescriptions. “It got to the point where they could still get me to 20/20 with glasses, but that would only last for a couple of months and I would need a new prescription,” he said.
Eventually, his military doctors referred him to the Lahey Clinic in Peabody, MA. “We tried all kinds of things – glasses, piggyback lenses, RGPs.” Over the next few years, his vision continued to worsen as the list of things he tried without success became longer. His remaining options dwindled and his hopes for a normal life grew dimmer. His attempts to engage his doctors in exploring other options fell on deaf ears.
Simple tasks like driving a car, even in the daytime, became more and more difficult. Driving in the evening became impossible, forcing him to limit things such as parent-teacher conferences with his daughter Dinangely to daytime hours. He worried that these limitations would have a greater and greater impact as time went on. What kind of a future would he have? Would his failing eyesight end his career in the Coast Guard?
Then in 2007, a military doctor suggested Boston Foundation for Sight. “I came to BFS with no idea about what they did. I was expecting another regimen of RGPs, hopefully with a doctor who was more open to my input.” It wasn’t until he actually walked through the doors that he realized it was something special.
“BostonSight® works real miracles. In short order you can see tangible changes in people. I could not believe how it changed me.” Elijah felt completely engaged throughout the treatment process. He particularly appreciated Dr. Lynette Johns’ willingness to listen to and thoughtfully consider his input.
Since receiving his PROSE devices, Elijah has developed a new passion - motorcycle riding. “Riding is such a huge part of my life now. Unless there is snow or ice, I am always on my motorcycle. And I would never have been able to ride a bike without PROSE.”
The staff and environment had such a significant impact on Elijah that he wants to work at BFS once his military service is completed. “I just want to be part of the miracle making.”
“Even though Elijah is not an employee (yet!), he brightens our office with his wit and charisma. He has the ability to inspire other patients during their treatment, and his good spirit is contagious.” – Dr. Lynette Johns