Cardinals slugger is now a spokesman for the National Keratoconus Foundation.
During one season in the minor leagues, Tommy Pham struck out more than 150 times.
He just couldn't see the ball, KSDY TV reports.
“I would hear teammates come back to the dugout and they’ll talk about seeing the spin on the slider,” he said in a video produced for the National Keratoconus Foundation. “I don’t see no spin.”
Dr. Ed Bennett, a professor at the University of Missouri St. Louis and optometrist, is one of the eye doctors who helped Pham overcome keratoconus.
“The cornea, the front surface of the eye, becomes thinner, it becomes distorted,” said Dr. Bennett. “Up until recently about one in seven people who had keratoconus ended up having a transplant.”
Tommy Pham didn’t have a transplant; instead he had a procedure called corneal cross-linking that uses riboflavin drops combined with UVA light to strengthen the cornea. Bennett said that procedure has stabilized Pham’s eyesight.
Pham now wears contact lenses. In the video he said that his eyesight remains a work in progress, but it hasn’t stopped him from reaching the major leagues.
“I’m able to see the spin better on the ball when I’m hitting and I’m able to have more depth perception,” he said.
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