Olympics

Feb 25, 2014 12:17 AM by Greg Smith

Holcomb's eye condition almost put the brakes on Olympic career

Steven Holcomb is the best bobsled driver in the world. He reads and sees turns like no one else in Olympic history. So it's ironic that it was those eyes that failed him, and almost put the brakes on his historic medal haul before it began.

He may have planned on becoming a driver, but becoming the greatest driver in the history of the Olympic Games is something he couldn't have planned for. Something else he couldn't plan for is having it nearly end before it began because of a rare eye condition called Kerataconus.

"It's a degenerative eye disease that basically, your Cornea just gets weak, and ended up bulging out," says Holcomb. "You have to have a Cornea transplant, and once you have that done, your eyes become really fragile. it's one year of recovery per eye. it's just a terrible situation."

With his eyesight dwindling, he contemplated suicide until Dr. Brian Wachler came to him with an experimental operation.

"They've kind of this created this new procedure called the 'Holcomb C3R, which arrests the degeneration."

"It strengthens the Cornea through an application of special vitamin solution combined with special type of light," syas Wachler. "He had an implantable lens that restored his vision."

Back to 20-20, Holcomb has won three Olympic medals in two games, breaking two 62-year-old records in the process. But driving a bobsled isn't the only thing he's improved in.

"I'm healthy, my crew is healthy, the eyes are good, still 20-20," says Holcomb. "Living the dream. My video games have stepped up quite a bit."

Holcomb says he wants to raise awareness for Kerataconus, 4 members of his family also have it.

 

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