For five years, Robin of St. Louis adapted her life around her declining vision. Yet, because of two generous donor families and a talented eye surgeon, her lost vision was restored soon after her cornea transplants.
In 2007, Robin, a busy working mom and business analyst for a local corporation, began noticing her vision appeared cloudy. Although her doctor diagnosed her with Fuchs’ dystrophy, they both thought it would be years before drastic measures would need to be taken to save her vision.
However, two years later, after losing much of the vision in her right eye, Robin could no longer read out of her left eye as well. Once she underwent a necessary cataracts surgery, her eyesight declined to 20/200, leading her ophthalmologist to believe if she didn’t undergo a cornea transplant within the year, she would lose her vision completely.
Said Robin, “After my cataracts surgery, I couldn’t watch TV or garden. I had to get a bigger computer monitor at work and change the font size on all of my computer access programs. I had still been able to drive because of my left eye, but once I lost vision in both, I knew I couldn’t drive any longer.”
Robin underwent two transplants in 2010 – one in June and one in December. According to her, the outpatient surgery was “amazing.” Within one day, her eyesight improved from 20/200 to 20/70, within four days she could watch T.V. again, and within seven, she was back to driving. Overall, it took about three months for her vision to completely stabilize.
Robin noted that her vision is better today than it was when she was 11. She no longer has to wear glasses to work on the computer, and she has been able to return to her favorite hobbies, including traveling and knitting. Most important, she is finally able to see with clear vision her son compete in high school sporting events.
“I’m just so incredibly grateful to my donor families. I can appreciate how difficult that decision was for them, but I’m so thankful they did what they did. I’ve been a registered organ donor for 30 years, but I really never thought I would end up being a recipient. Donation is such an incredible gift that people can give – it definitely impacts another person’s life.”