Focus On Independence

The Mission of Focus on Independence:

To increase the independence of people with spinal cord injuries by reducing their need for glasses and contact lenses through vision correction surgery.

Who We Are:

Focus on Independence is a not for profit organization that provides no charge laser vision correction to individuals who are disabled and unable to use their arms or hands to handle eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Dr. Durrie created Focus on Independence as a way to use his skills to give back to the community and help individuals suffering from paralysis regain some of their independence.

To date nearly 100 people have benefited from this program that provides no charge laser vision correction, typically a $5900 value.


Jessica Cox, Dr. Durrie, and his team.

A New Freedom – Jessica’s Story

Jessica Cox Chamberlain, the first MERIL referral to Focus on Independence, had her surgery in October of 2012.

Jessica was born without arms and the doctors do not know why she was born “differently-abled.”  She has made achievements with her feet that most people only dream about.  Jessica is the world’s first licensed armless pilot, as well as the first armless black-belt in the American Taekwondo Association.  Jessica has learned to live her life with her feet.  Now she shares her story with people around the world.

“Focus on Independence has given me a new freedom to be even more active and experience adventure with one less thing to worry about, while at the same time inspiring the world that anything is possible.” – Jessica Cox Chamberlain


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility criteria?

  • If a person has a disability that prevents them from putting on their glasses or putting in their contacts themselves, they may be considered.
  • The patient should be able to see well with the use of glasses/contacts and their eyewear prescription should not have changed in the last two years.
  • The patient must be over 18 years of age.

How long does the procedure take?

In most cases, both eyes can be treated the same day.  When both eyes are treated, the patient is in the surgery room for about 20 minutes.  Tests are performed both before and after surgery so the total time spent at the surgery center is around 90 minutes.

Should I expect to have pain during and after surgery?

Anesthetic eye drops are used during the surgery to numb the eyes so there is no pain during the surgery, although some patients may experience a mild discomfort or a pressure sensation during their procedure.  After the procedure, some patients experience a burning or scratchy feeling and light sensitivity for 1 to 2 hours.  These can be addressed with an over-the-counter pain reliever or artificial tears.

Will I have 20/20 vision after surgery?

While 20/20 vision cannot be guaranteed, Durrie Vision’s goal is to reduce the patient’s dependence on corrective lenses.  The vast majority of patients are extremely happy with the results and are able to do most activities without depending on corrective lenses following surgery.

Durrie Vision’s commitment to you is that we will not perform laser vision correction on anyone that we feel does not have a good possibility of achieving independence from glasses and contacts.

What are the chances of losing my sight permanently as a result of surgery?

In the many thousands of LASIK cases performed worldwide, there are no known recorded incidence of anyone losing their eyesight due to this procedure.


Contact Us:

For more information or to determine if you or someone you know may be a candidate, please contact MERIL at 816.279.8558.

Focus on Independence is made possible by: