Bloomington / Normal, IL

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The Hero Discount on LASIK Part 2


By Alexander Germanis

It has been said there are two types of people: those who run away from danger and those who run toward it. The few brave souls who abandon their own safety for the welfare of others are those we call heroes.

It is difficult for heroes to run toward danger, however, when they can’t see clearly enough to know in which direction the danger lies.
“We recognize the first responders, current military, and veterans’ roles in our community and we want them to have the best eyesight possible to do the service and lifesaving work they do,” says Eye Surgical Associates (ESA) Practice Administrator Julie Payne.

That recognition comes in the form of the Hero Discount on LASIK surgery. “It’s our way of showing our appreciation for their dedication,” Julie adds.

As shared in the previous article, last year one of those heroes who took ESA’s offer was Patrolman Jason Shumard of the Monticello Illinois Police Department. Engaged in law enforcement for 22 years, Patrolman Shumard has had his share of unnerving situations due to his corrective lenses either fogging up or getting coated in rain or snow at the worst moments.

After one-too-many life-endangering scrapes, the patrolman decided the time was finally right to look into LASIK. A corrective eye surgery, LASIK utilizes a laser to reshape the cornea.

“After doing some research online to see if anyone near me did LASIK, I chose Eye Surgical Associates and drove by their office in Champaign,” Patrolman Shumard says. “I first had an appointment with ESA in Bloomington in 2016. I didn’t pull the trigger on having the surgery, due to finances at the time.” While there are financing options and other discounts available, the Hero Discount is what finally motivated him to take the next step.

From there, the patrolman needed to find out if LASIK was even going to be an option for him. “After finding out I was a candidate, I was itching to have it done,” he shares.

As the patrolman reminds us though, even those who risk their lives every day can still find surgery — particularly eye surgery — a little daunting. “During my pre-procedure appointment, I explained to [opthalmic technician] Alicia how anxious I was feeling, how when I watch something on TV about eyes, I get squeamish,” he unabashedly recalls. “She reassured me that I would be fine and also ensured that I would be given something to help me relax.”

Relaxation and comfort might not be the first things one thinks about when considering undergoing eye surgery, but Patrolman Shumard recalls those feelings to be the most prevalent while at ESA. “On the day of the surgery, specifically while sitting in the surgical chair, I was overwhelmed by all of the ESA staff that ensured my comfort,” he remembers. “They talked to me throughout the entire procedure, which was what kept me calm.”

“The time in the surgical room was probably ten minutes, but the actual procedure time seemed like five minutes. It was over very quickly,” the patrolman says. “I would attribute that to the staff’s help in comforting me. ESA made every step of the way so easy.”

Starting the same day as his surgery, Patrolman Shumard saw a marked improvement in his eyesight and was able to return to his normal duties very quickly.

Although his job is still not a safe one, his successful LASIK surgery has removed some of those obstacles that had made it even less safe. “I have been able to use my air conditioner on the super hot days,” he says with relief. “And I also haven’t had any issues when it’s rained.”

Even with the fast recovery, the patrolman’s favorite aspect of the experience still revolves around the staff at ESA. “All the staff, especially Melissa and Alicia, made me feel extremely comfortable throughout my experience — before, during, and after the actual surgery,” he shares. “I really can’t say enough about the people that work at ESA.”

The praise is certainly not one-sided at ESA, assures Julie. With each of the eight heroes who took advantage of the discount last year, the experience was a positive one for everyone involved. “Our LASIK team really enjoyed meeting the heroes and the whole practice was proud to be part of giving something back to these individuals who give so much to us.”

If you missed last month’s article about Patrolman Shumard, you may read it online at, or contact Cheryl at, 309-664-2524.

For more information about LASIK, laser refractive cataract surgery or any condition affecting the eyes, contact ESA Eye Surgical Associates at 309-662-7700. Ophthalmologists Daniel Brownstone, Catharine Crockett, Scott Pinter, and optometrist Kathleen Vize will be happy to assist you. ESA is located at 1505 Eastland Drive Suite 2200 in Bloomington.