Low Vision specialist, David Lewerenz, OD, FAAO, credits his Ocutech cap for his tennis success!

Low Vision Specialist wearing Ocutech hat and holding tennis trophy above head
Congratulations to Low Vision specialist, David Lewerenz, OD, FAAO for winning the runner-up tennis trophy!

“In preparing for and playing their sport, many athletes have habits or rituals that seem superstitious to others. When playing tennis, I always wear my Ocutech hat. The hat reminds me of the superior design and precision manufacturing of Ocutech products, and that translates into nailing the precision shots that have made me a trophy-winning tennis player. Superstitious? I think not!” said David Lewerenz, OD, FAAO.

Dr. Lewerenz, Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Eye Center and Clinical Diplomat in Low Vision from the American Academy of Optometry, was the runner-up in the 2019 Denver Gates Tennis Center Men’s 3.0 Fall Tournament. 

But, he says, “here’s the totally true story of how this coveted trophy came to occupy a prominent place of pride in our home– There were about 12 of us in the Gates Tennis Center’s 3.0 men’s fall tennis ladder. Each ladder has a post-ladder tournament, for which a trophy is awarded to the champion and the runner-up. Only 4 of us signed up for the tournament in my division, so a single elimination bracket was put together. I immediately began to brag to anyone who would listen that I had made the semifinals of a tennis tournament. Well, one person had to drop out, so the tournament was reorganized as a round-robin between Steve, Mike and me. I played Steve and lost in straight sets, but to be fair, they were close sets (6-4, 7-5). Mike was never available to play at any of the scheduled times. So, in summary, I played one match, lost in straight sets, and won the runner-up trophy!”

Ocutech HatMy favorite hat to play tennis in is my Ocutech hat (see attached photo). After winning this trophy, I began to wonder, “Why is a trophy-winning athlete like me advertising for Ocutech for free? So, I reached out to Ocutech and said please have your people contact my people. I’ll leave the discussion of dollars to my agent, but I will tell you that you could get me on board for a lot less than Roger Federer.”

“We offered David a lifetime supply of caps, but evidently he feels that negotiations need to be ongoing,” said Henry Greene, OD, FAAO, co-founder and President of Ocutech!

Open Letter to a Mom Parenting a Child with Albinism from a College Student living with Ocular Albinism

This open letter is my response to an article written by Lee Kofman and published on Mamamia.com.

Dear Dr. Kofman,

I was pleasantly surprised to come across your recent post about parenting your son who has albinism. In my opinion, there aren’t enough people like you sharing these stories which help to enlighten the community. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mack, I am 20 years old, and live in North Carolina, United States. I was born with another form of albinism, ocular albinism. This genetic variant affects my vision in many similar ways as your son Ollie’s. I have a nystagmus that people usually cannot help but notice, lack sufficient melanin in the iris and retina parts of my eyes, and have trouble reading classroom boards, restaurant menus, books… you name it. 

Your son Ollie, sounds precious and gifted, playing piano at such a young age! I applaud your continual effort to locate all the resources available to you to help your son grow up with everything he could need. I too have been through that cycle of conferences, appointments, and specialists. I have heard my fair share about stigma surrounding physically apparent conditions like albinism. One thing that I think has helped so many people with low vision to reach their potential is to come into contact with the right advocacy group that changes the individuals life forever. And while I do not want to provide anyone with false hope, I would be remiss not to share with you my story and how I found the thing that can help me reach my potential.

When I was an infant, my parents learned I had ocular albinism, and from that point on, 20 years ago, my parents lived with the fear of me not being able to drive. For 14 years it had never crossed my mind I could be even more different than I had realized, never pondering my ability to obtain a driver’s license. My parents, holding out for some miracle, kept in touch with my low vision specialist in between appointments about any new breakthroughs in the field that would enable low vision patients to drive. They learned about Ocutech and I soon got one of their products which allowed me to drive! I then was able to drive myself to school, athletics practice, and to friends’ houses. This was something my parents never expected me to be able to do myself.

I now attend University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am a third year studying economics and entrepreneurship, still using my bioptic device to drive everywhere! I also now work as an intern for Ocutech, the very same company who gave me so much independence. My job there is to share my story, and how their product changed my life forever. Eager to make an impact, I have searched for people who could benefit from my story. Upon reading this heartfelt post of your experience so far with Ollie, I could not help but reach out.

If you are interested in seeing what could be out there for Ollie, I would love to answer any questions you might have and be a resource for you to make sure you leave no stone unturned. Please reach out to me at my personal email mackdespard@ocutech.com, I would love to get to know you and your family!

Eager to hear from you soon!

Best,

Mack Despard

Meet Mack!

Young man wearing Ocutech biopticsMack Despard is our new intern here at Ocutech and we are very excited to have him on the team. Visually impaired himself, Mack provides personal insight to living with low vision.  Mack uses his Ocutech bioptics every day and without them, would not be able to drive. Because low vision devices can dramatically improve quality of life and independence, Mack is eager to share his stories and experiences in hopes of helping others living with vision loss.

Mack’s Personal Testimony

The following was written by Mack Despard:

Ocular albinism has been one of the most wonderful contradictions of my life. Living with 20/80 vision has been challenging because it has forced me to overcome various “setbacks” with more effort and tenacity than those around me. As I realize is true for most children, I never considered the true meaning of regularity or exceptionalism, at least not in the way adults understand those words. From a young kid trying to get picked on the 2nd-grade recess basketball team to frantically notating structural organic chemistry rules in the front row of my lecture hall, my visual impairment has played a role in nearly every aspect of my life.

Without OA, I may never have steered away from ball-centered sports in favor of track and field, which would have meant not coming to know one of the most influential role models in my life: my track coach Cameron Starr. Without OA, I may not have sat in the front row of so many classrooms, away from my friends, with my focused attention to the teacher directly in front of me. My character, confidence, relationships, and work ethic are all parts of me that would not be the same without OA.

Overcoming obstacles is what makes a person strong, and how they overcome those obstacles is what makes a person resilient. I simply would not be the confident, independent, resourceful, and resilient person I am today without the challenges of OA or the incredible help from Ocutech.