Truck driver first in the U.S. to get ‘permanent’ contacts that correct astigmatisms

Note: This was corrected to clarify that David Cheshire was the first person to get implantable contact lenses that correct astigmatisms. 

As a truck driver, David Cheshire has struggled with finding a way to see better while driving.

“Driving down the interstate day in and day out started to cause a lot of strain on my eyes,” Cheshire, 37, told Brinton Vision in St. Louis. “Exit signs started to get blurry and I knew that I had to take action to fix my eyesight.”

The Illinois trucker didn’t like wearing contacts, though, and he couldn’t afford prescription sunglasses, according to a press release from Brinton Vision.

Cheshire also tried to get LASIK to correct his vision, the release states, but he was not a candidate because “his eyes were too bad.”

Now, this man who has worn eyeglasses since third grade does not have a need for them.

Earlier this week, Cheshire became the very first person in the U.S. to get the Visian Toric ICL procedure done. That means he got a new type of “permanent,” implantable contact lenses put in his eyes, Jason Brinton of Brinton Vision confirmed to McClatchy. This came just one month after the FDA approved the artificial lenses that are “permanently implanted inside the eye behind the iris and in front of the natural lens.”

Prior to the FDA approval, implantable contact lens surgery was not available for people with astigmatisms, according to The Eye Institute of Utah. 

The St. Louis-based LASIK & vision correction center “was selected as the FIRST practice in the nation to launch the Visian Toric ICL,” according to an Oct. 19 Facebook post.

The Visian Toric ICL lens is supposed to “correct blurred vision due to an irregularly shaped cornea (astigmatism),” according to the FDA. It can also correct nearsightedness, or myopia.

The treatment is not new, according to Brinton Vision. More than 450,000 people have gotten the artificial contacts over the last 17 years, but it wasn’t approved for use in the U.S. until last month.

After his one-day post-op appointment, Cheshire said in a Facebook Live video that he experienced “a little bit of pressure” after the implant treatment, but there was never any pain.

The pressure was worth it, though, because now he is “actually really amazed” by the improvement in his eyesight.

“I was riding home last night pointing out signs that I’ve never been able to see before without glasses,” he said in the video. “Then this morning I woke up and couldn’t find my glasses ... then my brain was like, ‘you don’t need them anymore.’”