Scott’s journey to restored vision began on a farm in central Kansas when he was 19. After unloading grain from storage bins, Scott noticed that his left eye had swollen shut. Scott eventually found his way to Dr. Bruce Grene in Wichita, Kansas where he was treated for bacterial infections, which offered some improvements. Shortly after that Scott was diagnosed with Acanthamoeba Keratitis, a rare infection of the eye. After the infection was treated Scott received his first cornea transplant. The surgery went smoothly, and Scott regained his vision, which remained stable for the next 20 years. Scott was on a tennis scholarship when he received his first cornea transplant, and he said, “The experience of going from playing sports to facing the uncertainty of vision loss had been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride.” Scott was able to see 20/20 uncorrected out of his left eye for nearly 20 years and for a few years after, his vision was corrected by glasses. Since the transplant, many of his optometrists have enjoyed the opportunity to work with his unique circumstances.
Life took an unexpected turn when Scott was involved in a car accident in January of 2023 that resulted in damage to the cornea, lens, and iris of his left eye. This accident led to an emergency cornea transplant performed by Dr. Farhat and his team in Kansas City. Scott praised the expertise of both Dr. Bruce Grene in Wichita and Dr. Farhat in Kansas City, highlighting the crucial roles they played in his journey to sight restoration, many years apart.
Scott’s story not only underscores the enduring human spirit but also the importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation. Scott emphasized the significance of having tissues readily available, contrasting the past when waiting was the norm and he expressed gratitude for the advances in medical science that allow him and countless others to see again.
“I have been the lucky one to have lost vision to both disease and trauma. I have also been fortunate enough to have had it restored via a transplant, and the prognosis is good that we will soon have it returned as I continue to heal from my second,” says Scott. Scott’s story highlights the impact of organ and tissue donation on saving lives and providing hope to individuals facing vision loss. As his journey continues, Scott remains an inspiring example of resilience.
Mike spent much of 2022 battling the infection that began in April. After taking a trip to Europe in the fall, his vision became much worse. That’s when he received a consult to see Dr. Kenneth Goins at KU Eye Center. Almost immediately, Dr. Goins identified that Mike would need a corneal transplant to save his eyesight.
“I had no idea that I’d need a transplant-that was not even on my list. I was concerned because I hadn’t been able to see out of that eye for so long, and I knew the infection wasn’t responding to the treatment,” said Mike. “Frankly,I was thinking that there was a good chance that I was going to lose my sight, and it didn’t occur to me to think about a transplant.”
Immediately, Mike had questions about what it meant to be a corneal transplant recipient. Furthermore, it weighed on him knowing that his gift of sight would come from loss.
“I am fully aware that the cornea I received also means that someone lost their life, and a family and friends lost their loved one,” said Mike.“I’m deeply humbled by that and can’t really find anything adequate to say, so I will just leave it that they have my very very deepest gratitude for this gift. Without such profound generosity, I would certainly be losing my sight in that eye.”
On December 30, Mike underwent a corneal transplant procedure to save his sight. While he is still healing from the procedure and gradually regaining vision, his outlook is bright.As a CPA, an active member of his community, and a retired high school wrestling coach, Mike is looking forward to putting his new view to good use. He hopes to spend 2023 in partial retirement, enjoying more of his favorite activities, like scuba diving and traveling.
“It very much meant the world to me. I really had resigned to myself and was thinking about what it was going to be like to live with one eye,” said Mike.“I kept trying to comfort myself that, ‘you can still see with one eye; you can still make things work with one eye.’ But now, with this gift,I may not have to do that.”