John's Story
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Corneal transplants: the gift of sight

By John

My journey began when it was found that my eyesight was deteriorating and I was having severe discomfort from contact lenses. The eye specialist and optometrist advised that my problem was caused from Keratoconus. Keratoconus is a degenerative disorder of the eye in which structural change within the cornea causes it to thin to a more conical shape than its normal gradual curve.

I was not able to obtain satisfactory vision from spectacles because of Keratoconus.

After years of treatment and extensive trials and experiments with contact lenses, I was informed that there was nothing more that could be done with contact lenses. This was a major trauma. If I could not wear contact lenses, I would be declared legally blind. I had a wife and two children to support and my focused vision, without aids, was limited to perhaps 30 centimetres. The outlook was indeed bleak.

The eye specialist recommended I consider corneal transplants for both eyes.

I received a corneal transplant for my right eye and struggled for vision, working and supporting my family, with one increasingly painful left contact lens, until the sutures were removed.

This first transplant was an emotional experience for me. I had to come to grips with the fact that a person would have to die in order for me to receive a desperately needed cornea.

I had the second transplant. I was then able to wear spectacles with satisfactory vision, no pain or discomfort for the first time in many years.

The vision in my right eye had deteriorated with the recurrence of the Keratoconus condition. This resulted in a replacement corneal transplant. This was successful.

This has been a long and involved journey. I hate to think what life would have been like had I not been able to receive the wonderful donation of three corneas.

John