As a manager, husband, father and grandfather, Steve was missing out on seeing many things in life. As his vision worsened, he thought he might need a stronger prescription. When Steve went to the eye doctor in 2012, they determined he had an eye condition called Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy.
“When my doctor told me I had Fuchs’ I didn’t know much about it and went back home to read up on it,” said Steve. Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy is a hereditary eye disease that causes vision to worsen as an inner layer of the cornea deteriorates. If left untreated, one can lose sight in that eye.
Over a 5 year period, Steve’s eyesight declined, causing him to lose the ability to read normal print. Driving at night also became a challenge for him. “I had lost a lot of that visual acuity,” said Steve.
As an office manager, Steve’s work requires a lot of reading and time on the computer. The decision was made for Steve to have a corneal transplant in 2015. “I thought it important to go ahead with surgery and thought it was important to do it to keep my level of performance at my job. It made a big difference,” said Steve.
Because of the generous decision and gift of corneal tissue from a donor and their family, Steve can now continue to work the next several years until retirement. Steve chose to write to his donor family through Saving Sight’s correspondence program to thank them. “I know that there are a lot of generous people out there and that’s one side of that – that someone made that decision – I wanted to let their family know how much I appreciated it,” said Steve.
Prior to his transplant, Steve did not have a connection to donation or know much about the transplantation process, though he has been a blood and platelet donor in the past. Steve said during the process there was a lot to learn about the eyes and the impact of what it means to go through the surgery and the healing process.
“From my first diagnosis, to the surgery, to the healing process – that whole process takes a while – but it’s an interesting adventure to see yourself healing,” said Steve.
His transplant and recovery were a success. And Steve said that the generous gift of sight has improved his quality of life immensely. “It gives me more enjoyment – brighter colors and clarity – there were things I was missing that I didn’t even know I was missing.”
To join the millions of Americans who have signed up for the donor registry, register online at Donate Life America or at your local Department of Motor Vehicles office. And be sure to share your decision with your family and friends.