The Perfect Shot: Performing Eye Surgery on a Competitive Shooter. No Pressure.
Performing eye surgery is pretty routine for the doctors here at the Center for Excellence in Eye Care. However, things become a bit interesting when you are performing these surgeries on an expert marksman.
Dr. Mario Fajardo was awarded the coveted Distinguished Rifleman (DR) Badge in May 2013, following PTK surgery with Dr. Bill Trattler in January 2013.
Distinguished Badges are the highest individual awards authorized by the U. S. Government for excellence in marksmanship competition. They are awarded by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) in accordance with 36 USC §40722 , and by the respective military services in accordance with service regulations.
The highest scoring 10 percent of all non-Distinguished competitors in CMP Excellence in Competition (EIC) matches earn credit points towards their DR award. During EIC matches, the participants are not allowed to use telescopic sights as they shoot on targets at distances of 200, 300, and 600 yards, putting a premium on good visual acuity.
By 2009, Mario had earned 18 out of the 30 EIC credit points required to achieve DR status. Unfortunately, he developed irregular astigmatism which could not be corrected with standard spectacle lenses to better than about ½ diopter of residual blur.
“My ability to shoot accurately was greatly impaired because of my poor vision.”
Mario’s mother had previously undergone successful cataract surgery with Dr. Trattler, and the day after Christmas 2012 Mario came in for a consultation to confirm a diagnosis of a premature cataract made by another doctor.
At this consultation, Dr. Trattler told Mario, “I’m underwhelmed by your cataract, but you do have EBMD, the fix for that is a procedure called PTK…and I do those on Thursdays.”
Mario scheduled his appointment for PTK surgery that day. He was mostly concerned with achieving the best possible corrected vision and felt that PTK was less risky than PRK or LASIK.
After his PTK surgery in January 2013, Mario earned 6 more EIC points at the Louisiana State Service Rifle Championships in April, then his final 6 EIC points at the Texas State Rifle Association Service Rifle Championships in May.
“Dr. Trattler re-leveled the playing field for me.”
Mario now owns the 2135th Distinguished Rifleman Badge awarded to a civilian since civilians became eligible to participate in EIC matches in the 1920’s. He notes that “there are more folks walking around with Super Bowl Rings than Distinguished Rifleman Badges.”
Mario is a professional research scientist, and told us he was very impressed with the rooms we have at our Center that are entirely filled with diagnostic equipment. He was also blown away by the corneal surface tests that were done before and after his procedure and by how different they looked from each other. We love talking to patients like Mario who read and truly appreciate the testing because they can really get a grasp for how amazing their results are after surgery.
Dr. Trattler and all the physicians and staff at our Center are so happy for Mario. Most importantly for the improvement in his vision, but also for the amazing accomplishment that it has brought him.