National Keratoconus Foundation has named NASCAR driver Joey Gase as NKCF Ambassador!
Gase, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, discovered his lifelong passion when he won the first of many Go-Kart races at age 8. By 18, Joey had been signed as a professional driver and was competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Today, Joey is driver and co-owner of Emerling-Gase Motorsports and has competed in more than 350
NASCAR events including three DAYTONA 500 starts with an average finish of 21st. Visual acuity for NASCAR drivers can be no worse than 20/40. Joey had worn glasses and contact lenses for vision correction for most of his life, but three years ago, he felt his vision was diminishing and visited his eye doctor who diagnosed him with keratoconus.
Conversations with NKCF led him to the Ophthalmology Department at the University of Iowa Medical Center where Gase was fit with impression-molded, custom contact lenses (EyeFitPro) that improved his vision to 20/10.
With his new contact lenses, Joey is more assured in his role as driver/owner. “In racing, you need to have confidence in your vision. Driving 200 mph around a 2.5 mile track, I need to clearly see the grooves, my marks, debris and of course be able to find the holes to navigate through wrecks on the track.” Gase added, “And, like any businessman, I spend hours each day in front of the computer. I am able to see the screen clearly and don’t experience headaches like I did in the past.”
Joey’s success as a NASCAR driver should be an inspiration to others who find that keratoconus is getting in the way of achieving their career goals.”
Mary Prudden, Executive Director of NKCF, was honored to welcome Gase as an Ambassador for the organization. “Joey’s history is like so many other individuals with keratoconus. He grew up believing he just had ‘bad’ eyesight when in fact he had a condition where his cornea was changing shape and his vision was becoming impaired.”
Prudden added, “Because of Joey’s history with eye banks, he is happy to spread the word that early detection and intervention can save eyesight and eliminate the need for a corneal transplant. Joey’s success as a NASCAR driver should be an inspiration to others who find that keratoconus is getting in the way of achieving their career goals.”
Gase joins New York Met, Tommy Pham in the role of NKCF Ambassador. Both Pham and Gase have high profile sports careers where good vision is critical for success, and both are committed to sharing their story with their fans.