“Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained” Seeing Through the Eyes of Kenny Atkins

The stories of those with Keratoconus are many. Each journey of the patients is important to us all. It shapes what we know and makes us who we become. Learning each story takes time but can be done one patient at a time. The story of Kenny Atkins is one of frustration, struggle, and venture as he was a big addition to new procedures in Keratoconus. Something many of us know and suffer.

Kenny Atkins was the first patient in the United States to have the Intac procedure done on a someone with Keratoconus. This decision is not one made lightly and many of us struggle with this decision after many procedures have been done. The courage of Kenny Atkins to be the first should be remembered by us all.

This post is dedicated to him-

Kenny Atkins was a Ocean Lifeguard who struggled with his vision.

“At school I found it harder to focus on textbooks. I thought it was just the chlorine from the pool. I had my eyes checked and I was diagnosed with Astigmatism in my eye.” said Kenny.

Kenny goes on to describe the complications he had while lifeguarding.

“By late afternoon I would see double images of objects far away”. The frustration he endured using traditional vision correction contact lenses and prescription sunglasses made it difficult for Kenny to continue to do his job properly.

In 1999 Kenny heard of the new procedure of Intacs for patients with Keratoconus by Dr. Boxer Wachler and despite the fact that it had not been tested on a patient with Keratoconus Kenny felt it was worth it.

After the successful procedure Kenny started showing improvement in his eye right away and only a week afterwards he had almost equal vision in both eyes.

“It has now been eight years since I had Intacs and I still do not wear corrective lenses, I am able to pick objects out of the glare on the horizon and street signs before I need to turn.”

Kenny Atkins has opened the gate way for many other sufferers of Keratoconus. He is one of great courage and a model for us all. Kenny says:

“I can now appreciate the saying- Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained”

For more information about keratoconus visit the American Keratoconus Association

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