YOU ARE A CHALLENGE: Hector Mendez’s Long Search For Clarity

“I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 2 years old. As a child I was teased and called names. Wearing glasses made me feel self-conscious and awkward. Eventually, I got used to it and resigned myself to the frustration and inconvenience that comes with having to wear glasses all the time – but I always wished I could get rid of them.” – Hector Mendez


blurred-vision-1Waukesha native, Hector Mendez, has been on a lifelong search for clear vision. He had been told time and again that his vision could not be surgically corrected because of severe astigmatism (blurred vision due to the irregular shape of the cornea or the lens of the eye) and nystagmus (a condition where the eyes make repetitive, uncontrolled movements). He had all but given up hope that he’d ever be free of the glasses that prevented him from living, and looking, the way he wished he could.

The Search
Many times over the last 50 years, Hector had heard about new devices and techniques that might help correct his vision, but each time he was told “Sorry, this won’t work for you.” Ten years ago, when a family friend suggested he try LASIK vision correction he allowed himself to hope. He went in for tests. Again, he was turned away. He was told the procedure would not work for him. “At that point I quit looking for a cure. I gave up hope. I figured I’d be wiping rain and fog from my glasses for the rest of my life.”

Fast forward ten years. Things change. Technology improves. Hector’s medical insurance provided a benefit toward LASIK surgery. His wife said “DO IT!” Hector was skeptical, conflicted, hesitant. He wasn’t interested in being disappointed again. But, he thought, “maybe…”. He went to a well-known LASIK center where he was put through a battery of tests. Then he was tested again. Eventually the doctor called him in for the bad news. His astigmatism and nystagmus were too severe, they couldn’t guarantee significant results so they wouldn’t do the surgery.

One Last Try
“I was dejected,” admitted Hector, “I had allowed myself a glimmer of hope, just to be disappointed again.” Fortunately, Hector’s wife pressed him to try one more time. He recalled, “She reminded me that I am good at finding answers. I research everything. She said, “Just LOOK.” So I got out my laptop and dug in. The more I researched the technology, the more often I came across one name: Dr. Lanny Hale at Hale Vision. It became very clear to me that this guy was one of the leaders in the field. He was at the forefront of the technology. If anybody was going to give me a definitive ‘yes or no’ it was going to be him. I decided he was the ultimate authority, my last resort. Whatever he said, I’d have to live with.”

The Challenge
Dr. Hale and his staff put Hector through a series of tests to confirm questions about his unusual vision issues. The time came to report the results and Hector was called into Dr. Hale’s office. “I was fully prepared for him to say ‘Sorry, I can’t help you,’ instead, Dr. Hale looked me square in the eye and said, “You are a challenge.” My heart sank. But then he said, “I like challenges.”

Dr. Hale explained that Hector was one of the more difficult cases he had seen but he was intrigued. He approached Hector’s case as he does all cases, by focusing on how he can help his patients see more clearly. He described Hector’s case as a challenge, “not because of the astigmatism, we’ve been correcting those for years now … the challenge was the nystagmus, the constant, uncontrolled movement of the eye.” Dr. Hale went on to explain that LASIK technology requires an accurate scan of the eye to help the laser track movement during surgery. The constant movement of Hector’s eyes made scanning difficult, but not impossible. “I was honest with him. I told him the different circumstances that might force us to stop the procedure, but I also told him that if we made a good plan and everyone did their part, I thought we could make the technology work for him.”

After detailed discussions about the pros and cons, the risks and possible rewards, Hector decided to go ahead with the surgery. He sincerely appreciated the amount of time and personal attention he got from Dr. Hale and the staff at Hale Vision. “Dr. Hale and his staff were so thorough and so professional every step of the way. It was the most comfortable I’ve ever felt in a doctor’s office.”

The Outcome
“The day of the surgery, Dr. Hale and his staff were amazing,” Hector said, a month after the surgery. “They were efficient, truthful and explained everything that was about to happen. They kept me informed all the way through. Before I knew it, I was sitting up and seeing clearer than I’d ever seen in my entire life. I was thrilled!” Over the next few weeks Hector’s vision varied. Some days it was better than others, but he’d been told to expect that. He was patient, and as Dr. Hale predicted, his vision continued to improve. “At my 30-day checkup I was right on target and it’s only going to get better from here!”

Dr. Hale’s was pleased with the outcome as well. “Technically, it was tougher than a common LASIK procedure, but I’ve never been one to shy away from something just because it was tough. Modern technology made the surgery possible, but we spent a lot of time making sure every detail was in place so the technology could do what it was designed to do.”

Everything Looks New
Hector is so excited about his new found view of the world that he is often distracted by the details around him. “I find myself looking at things like I’ve never seen them before. Everything looks new. I’m excited to be outside again. I’m excited to be free of my glasses! I feel better about myself, and best of all I can actually feel the rain on my eyelids and wear cool sunglasses when I ride my motorcycle! Things are more beautiful.” There is only one downside Hector reports after his surgery: “The hardest thing I’ve had to re-learn is not to go searching for my glasses when I wake up in the morning!”

“I just want people to know that Dr. Hale does not put on a show.
He cares about each and every one of his clients and he actually hears what you say. He’s not just in it for the business. He has a heart. The man really cares.” – Hector Mendez

If you have a vision correction challenge that you’d like Dr. Hale to evaluate, please call (262) 789-9029 and make an appointment for a consultation. The entire staff at Hale Vision is eager to help you see clearly too.

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