Mike Thomas picked up a camera as a child and never put it down. His passion became his profession as his training in still photography led him to join the University Technology Team at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Today, Mike, as the Assistant Director of Learning and Teaching Systems, leads the design and support of classroom-based technology at Case Western, which enables numerous students to watch recorded lecture material online every day.
As part of the teaching and learning systems group, Mike’s focus is on video and multimedia projects that support academic technology, so having good vision is a big part of his job. His days are filled with screens, from large video screens in lecture halls to iPad screens and desktop screens used in online classrooms, and the many still and video camera screens used to capture content.
“I have been insanely addicted to photography since I was a kid. And, everything was going swimmingly with my vision until age 40 came along,” Mike said. “When I turned 40, my reading vision started going. It affected me in a variety of ways. Looking at my camera, I just wasn’t able to see things as clear as I wanted to and it just got progressively worse as I moved toward 50,” Mike explained.
Mike started wearing bifocals mainly for the reading, but he quickly noticed that glasses were a nuisance.
“Wearing glasses started ruining the art of photography for me. It was hard to use glasses to look in my camera; then take them on off to look at the back of my camera. It was getting ridiculous. And, it was difficult to see monitors at work. You can only make the text so big. It just was not a good situation.”
In January 2016, Mike went to Clear Choice Custom LASIK Center in Cleveland and explained all his vision issues to the staff. They had a solution: the KAMRA® inlay. The staff told Mike about the KAMRA inlay and how the inlay technology was based on the aperture of a camera lens and would give him an extended range of vision. He couldn’t sign up fast enough; at 52 he was ready to take his glasses off. “The KAMRA inlay totally made sense,” said Mike.
Just a few weeks later, Mike had the KAMRA inlay implanted, and the results were amazing. Mike was told that healing could take a few weeks, but he was able to start reading fine text and print in just a few days. “Within a few days, my quality of life got better. I am a very visual person, and I am able to see again,” said Mike.
“Really, on a lesser scale, I just hated my bifocals; I absolutely insanely hated them. I hated cleaning them. I hated not being able to fall asleep because I was afraid I would roll over and smash them and then have to pay another $300 to $400 for a new pair. So the KAMRA inlay has been an absolute win-win; totally worth it and probably the best money I have ever spent.”
“In my job, I am judging colors, contrasts, clarity of things constantly. I am very particular about how I see and really push my vision. That is why it was so devastating to have to go to bifocals. When I found out the KAMRA inlay was available, it was lifechanging.”
When asked what he likes the best about not having to wear glasses anymore, Mike replied, “the coolest thing was throwing out all those little packages of eyeglass wipes for my glasses. I used to keep them in my pocket and my briefcase, in my carry-on luggage. I had them everywhere because it would drive me insane to have a smudge on my glasses.”
“I am just so critical of how clearly I see. During the post processing of video or photos in lightroom or photoshop, I would constantly be adjusting my screen to find the sweet spot. With the KAMRA inlay, the whole thing is a sweet spot.”
Mike also is back behind the camera again and back to making his art. Some example of his amazing work can be seen on his blog, mikes-life.com.
The KAMRA inlay is a tiny mini-ring, smaller than a contact lens and thinner than a human hair. The inlay sits in the first few layers of the eye known as the cornea and only allows focused light to enter the eye. This enables patients, like Mike, to see clearly up close while maintaining good distance vision.
For people looking to no longer depend on reading glasses or contact lenses for everyday activities, as Mike was, the KAMRA inlay could be a solution.