Well, my fascination with it came from my own problems. I was very myopic and very astigmatic, very high astigmatism and had been that way since second grade, when they caught me and found out I couldn't see on the eye test. I probably bluffed my way through the first grade. I was a good memorizer. I'm sure I listen to the kid in front of me and parroted back what he said, but in second grade they had me read a different line, and I couldn't see a thing. And so they caught me, and then I ended up wearing glasses from second grade on. And they were thick glasses.
I hated them. I just hated them, and I remember going through high school, I wouldn't wear them, and I couldn't wear hard contacts because that's all there was for astigmatism. And they just drove me crazy. So I went through most of my high school years walking around mostly blind because I wouldn't wear those glasses and I couldn't wear the contacts. You know, as I got a little more mature, I started to wear the glasses, and I could see better obviously, but I still hated the glasses.
And so as I got into ophthalmology and began to understand what we could and couldn't do the possibility of refractive surgery was fascinating to me of being able to correct somebody's vision. But the old radial keratotomy was only really beneficial in a very limited range, and I was not even close to that range. My correction was way too high for that, so I watched it develop and then I when the laser came around and we discovered that we were able to treat people even like me potentially with very little invasive, very very little invasive technique and being able to get them to see well potentially. This was in the late 80s.
I was fascinated. I went down to New Orleans and saw the first 15 crazy people all had their one eye done. They were all there while Margaret McDonald did those people at LSU. We discovered the laser was amazing, but we had a long ways to go to develop the programming to be able to get it to make people see like we wanted them to see and like they wanted to see. So I watched the Brits and the Canadians the Europeans go down the learning curve for about six and a half years while they experimented on each other. And they got better at it, and the ones that track their data and were compulsive about doing certain things, using the best equipment, and following it along got very good at it.
And I was just particularly watching them to do an astigmatic correction to see when they were getting people like me to see at a certain level my goal was to see well enough to drive without glasses to be able to pass the DMV eye test without glasses. And so by mid-94, there were three or four surgeons in the world that actually had achieved that, and having watched what they did and how they got there, I learned a lot about what it took to be able to develop that kind of a practice and be able to get those outcomes.
And I picked the guy that I trusted the most, the one that I felt would treat me like family. And myself and five other really blind people went to Canada and actually had PRK in July of 94. I'm coming up on my 22nd anniversary in mid-July. That'll be 22 years, and it was life transforming for me. And within a period of it took about 10 minutes 15 minutes, I went from being you know coke bottle blind to being able to see. And it was life transforming for me. Word got out we'd done that. We used to take care of, still do take care of, a lot of the people in media for routine eye care and one of them particularly had an interest because she was very myopic, very nearsighted, and so she ended up coming up to Canada and doing a four-part series on ABC about laser vision correction, and then she had her own done a few months after that. And word got out, and after this series we had people coming in from all over the US to go with us to go get their eyes fixed.
And so we ended up doing hundreds of patients across the border and learning from people that already walked the learning curve so we didn't have to you know step on all the same landmines, and it was great. By the time we got US approval in 96, we hit the ground running because we already knew what to do.