Like many individuals suffering from Fuchs’ dystrophy, a degenerative disease of the cornea, Jackie of Raytown, MO. was able to adapt her life around her condition. But as the disease progressed and her ability to participate in her favorite activities began to suffer, Jackie knew a cornea transplant would be the only way to restore her lost vision.
Jackie first became aware of her Fuchs’ following a cataract surgery on her right eye in 2003. “When I returned to the doctor’s office the day after surgery to remove the patch, he asked me to read the chart on the wall, and I said, ‘What chart?’ That’s when they realized I had Fuchs’.”
It took Jackie a year to regain any vision in her right eye. She eventually underwent a successful cataract surgery on her left eye, but within a couple of years, her vision began deteriorating rapidly, which affected her quality of life.
Said Jackie, “I pretty much quit driving at night because the glare of the lights distracted me. I had problems with embroidery at times, especially cross stich, and I would notice after I finished something that I had jumped crosses.”
Upon her ophthalmologist’s suggestion, Jackie met with a cornea specialist who performed a transplant on her right eye. After a successful surgery, Jackie was amazed how quickly her vision began to return. “The day after the surgery, when the nurse took the patch off my eye, I said, ‘I can see you!” The doctor was thrilled.”
Today, Jackie can read without her glasses as well as embroider and quilt with no difficulties. She is also able to drive at night again, which allows her to attend her 17-year-old grandson’s basketball games and take her granddaughters to their gymnastics classes.
Because of her donor family’s generous decision to give the gift of sight, Jackie continues to pay it forward by encouraging others to pledge to become eye donors by joining their state’s donor registry at www.donatelifemissouri.com or www.donatelifekansas.com.
“Please, please register. It’s one transplant that is pretty successful, and there is nothing greater than the gift of sight. People don’t realize how terrifying it can be to think you might be going blind.”