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Wear The Gown: A Focus On Independence

This program allows those with spinal cord injuries get the corrective vision surgery they need.

SAN ANTONIO — For many people who need any kind of surgery they often take the first opinion they get and roll with it. One woman who stumbled upon a program that aimed at helping those who need vision correction, keeps hitting brick walls.

The program is called A Focus On Independence and it was started in 2003 by eye surgeons trying to help patients who had a hard time using their arms or hands to handle their eyewear. 

For those that need vision surgery it can be life changing. "I fell from a horse when I was 14, and broke my neck. It completely severed my spinal cord," said Liz Roberts, who has been living life as a quadriplegic for decades. She added, "I have permanent wrist function, no finger movement and I can move my head and shoulders."

More recently she's had worsening cataracts, which makes handling her eyewear even more difficult. Roberts said, "You don't know how many pairs of glasses I've run over because I've dropped them and forgot about them."

Dr. Greg Parkhurst, the CEO and founder of Parkhurst NuVision told KENS 5, "It's actually hard to do some things that we would otherwise consider to be simple, like putting on a pair of glasses or putting in a contact lens."  

When Roberts needed cataract surgery, eye surgeons shot her down, because of her disability saying, "They couldn't assist me to transfer onto the table and I have to be in a lying position." 

Dr. Parkhurst added, "One of the things about patients with spinal cord injuries is that it's actually difficult to transfer from the chair over to a bed or to put your clothes on or things like that. So it often requires other people to help assist moving them from the chair over to the bed or the gurney in this case, in the medical facility. So we were able to get several of our nurses and technicians to help physically lift her over onto the gurney."

At Parkhurst NuVision, like many refractive surgeons across the country, they were able to accommodate Roberts by getting her into a bed, and into the surgical suite for her much needed operation. Dr. Parkhurst said, "What Focus on Independence does, it actually helps those people by doing a vision correction procedure. So that's just one less thing that they have to worry about." Roberts added, "This experience has been life-changing for me. I can see. and I didn't realize how much I wasn't seeing for years."

If you would like to see more of our Wear The Gown stories, click here.

To find out more about A Focus On Independence click here

To learn more about cataract surgery click here.

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