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Kerry

By Kerry

Twenty-five years ago at the age of 23, I was diagnosed with the degenerative eye condition keratoconus.

As I sought to understand the implications of my diagnosis I learned that one day I may need to have corneal transplants to restore my vision.

More than 20 years later I suddenly lost the vision from my right eye. I had developed the rare complication of keratoconus - corneal hydrops. Slowly my eye healed and some vision was restored but I struggled with reading and distance vision. My eye was very light sensitive. I wore sunglasses even to put rubbish in the outside bin. Confidence in my vision and my ability to be involved with my family was reduced.

As a nurse I had dedicated myself to caring for and helping others. Now I was facing the prospect of losing my independence and being a burden to my family - it was devastating.

Making the decision to have a corneal transplant to improve my vision was difficult. Even being wheeled into theatre I still struggled. Should I just be grateful for the vision that I had and let sleeping dogs lie?

On the first day I inserted my new contact lens into my eye, I was simply stunned at how clear and perfect my vision was - before it became blurred with tears. I could not ever recall having vision like this.

I know my need was not life threatening, yet it was. It threatened the quality of my life and the essence of who I am.

My donor shall forever hold a special place in my heart. Every day when I wake, open my eyes and can see, I feel blessed to have received their gift.

The easiest letter I have ever written was to my donor family. The words just flowed and yet there were not the words to describe the overwhelming gratitude that my husband, my daughters and I feel for their decision. It does sadden me to know that it was the death of their loved one that enabled me to have improved vision.

Kerry