In an article in its March 10, 2011, issue, The Florida Times-Union profiled Matt Spears, a strength and conditioning coach who was legally blind before optometrist Brian Armitage of Baymeadows Vision Center used special contact lenses to restore his vision.

Spears was ready to begin learning Braille after surgery failed to restore the vision he had lost because of keratoconus, an eye disorder that causes cone-shaped bulging of the cornea. “The fact that he can now see things clearly is nothing short of a miracle,” the newspaper wrote of Spears.

As the only optometrist in Northeast Florida focused on specialized contacts, Armitage provides lenses that are effective and comfortable to patients who have distorted corneas, like Spears, because of conditions such as keratoconus, post-corneal transplants, and post-Lasik complications.

“People with distorted corneas often think that surgery is their only option. But the latest in contact lens technology provides alternatives to corneal transplants, offering both adequate vision and excellent comfort,” said Armitage, formerly head of worldwide clinical research for VISTAKON, a contact lens manufacturing division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc.

Armitage recently launched the North Florida Corneal Rehabilitation Center to help patients with distorted corneas find alternatives to invasive surgical procedures. The center is the first of its kind in the region.

North Florida Corneal Rehabilitation Center specializes in treating patients with contact lenses that are supported by the white portion of the eye (sclera). Because scleral lenses vault over damaged corneas, they often help patients when other lenses have failed, such as with keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, corneal ectasia resulting from Lasik surgery, distorted corneal transplants and Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

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