At the beginning of 2017, Brad Copeland made a simple resolution: he was going to stop struggling with reading glasses. The KAMRA corneal inlay helped him keep his resolution by providing him with a clear range of vision and now he celebrates a year without readers.
The 47-year-old morning radio DJ has spent more than 25 years bringing local and national news, sports, and commentary to thousands of Oklahoma residents each weekday morning on KATT FM’s Rick and Brad show.
Even though he is on the radio, there are a lot of vision-related aspects to his job. He is constantly looking at no fewer than four screens, some a few inches away, others a few feet away. There is the monitor with a list of promotions and station information, another screen with topics for the day, the TV screens showing local and national newsfeeds and one screen showing the latest internet stories. Plus, he is looking across the desk at his cohost Rick, his morning team and guests.
“My job takes a commitment of having an awareness about what’s going on in the world around you, be it politics or pop culture or sports. We cover a little bit of everything on the show,” said Brad. “I spend a majority of my day after getting off the air watching television, reading websites, newspapers and magazines, looking for things that are relevant to talk about on future shows.”
A few years ago, Brad began to notice that his vision was not quite what it used to be. Reading was beginning to be more and more difficult, so in his early 40s, he started reaching for a pair of cheaters, simple reading glasses he would pick up at the store. In a few years, he was putting on glasses for reading in the studio and bifocal sunglasses when he was outside.
“At a certain age and with that much screen time and that much strain on your eyes, your vision starts to lose some of its sharpness,” Brad said. “I wore reading glasses. And at times I wouldn’t have them in my bag, or I wouldn’t bring my bag, and I wouldn’t have them with me. I could function. I could read. I never got to the point where I just couldn’t see at all. But it was way more difficult.”
Brad has also been an avid scuba diver for many years. He is a scuba instructor who takes students diving at local lakes outside of Oklahoma City. He is also an amateur underwater photographer who travels extensively with his wife on diving adventures around the world. During those trips he loves to take pictures of seals, sea lions, fish and other sea creatures.
Brad said “One of the aspects of underwater photography that isn’t well known is that lighting significantly degrades as you go down in depth. Not only does it get darker, colors degrade at different rates. At 15 feet you start to lose the color red. And with every 15 to 20 feet deeper you dive, the amount of light is significantly reduced. So, you get down to 60 to 80 feet and the amount of light that’s available at that point is very limited. What I realized one day while diving was I was no longer able to see the screen on the back of my camera to see if it was focused, and if the exposure was right.”
“I realized I was either going to have to buy a prescription mask or pursue a more permanent solution with vision correction.”
So, when Brad heard about the KAMRA inlay during a commercial on KATT for ClearSight Center in Oklahoma City at the end of 2016, he was more than ready to check it out.
“ClearSight LASIK is a big advertiser with us. We hear the doctors talking about the benefits of vision correction procedures all the time. And I had just heard a commercial about how you could use your FSA or HSA toward surgery,” he explained.
At Brad’s very first appointment he met with Dr. Luke Rebenitsch of ClearSight LASIK. Brad immediately connected with Dr. Luke. He explained to Brad about presbyopia and how the KAMRA inlay could help him at work and also while scuba diving. Presbyopia is a natural vision condition that happens to everyone around their mid-40s to mid-50s. As the lens of the eye gradually becomes less flexible, it becomes harder to focus and see or read things up close, which is why Brad had a hard time seeing the back of his camera or reading a screen in the studio.
Dr. Luke told Brad how the KAMRA inlay’s mini-ring design would help him see better. The small opening in the center of the inlay allows focused light to enter the eye for clearer reading vision and a more natural range of vision from near to far, much like how the aperture of Brad’s camera works.
On the day of the procedure, Dr. Luke was the calming presence Brad needed. “He talked me through the whole thing to the point of telling me exactly how long everything was going to take. It was quicker than I ever could have imagined, and his bedside manner made it really easy to get through.”
Shortly after his procedure, Brad was back in the studio. Now, he is not worried about having a pair of glasses in his bag when he is at work so that he can see the screens. It also has helped Brad to be able to see the screen on the back of his camera underwater.
“The very next time that I took my camera on a dive, I could see so much better than I had before the surgery. It took away the level of frustration that I had when I would take the pictures. I could see the back of the digital camera again. I got to come into the digital age and be able to actually look at pictures I took on the fly and go, ‘Oh, I screwed that one up. I’m still right here. I’m going to take this picture again and change what needs to be changed.’ I was able to actually fully utilize what’s great about the digital aspect of photography. That was a big deal for me.”
“I just got back from a trip in September with my wife. We went to La Paz, Mexico, and were diving with sea lions. That trip was something I’d wanted to do for a long time, because I wanted to see the sea lions and be able to take pictures of them. And it was awesome.”
Presbyopia affects more than 114 million Americans each year. As the first corneal inlay approved in the U.S., the KAMRA inlay focuses light onto the retina of the eye while providing a natural range of vision – from near to far – without blurry zones. This mini-ring, smaller than a contact lens, is placed in the cornea of only one eye by an ophthalmologist to help restore reading vision.
If you are looking to reduce your dependence on reading glasses or contact lenses for everyday activities like Brad was, the KAMRA inlay could be a solution. See if you’re a candidate and talk with your doctor to find out if the KAMRA inlay may be right for you.