Anne is an artist who resides in Gladstone, Missouri, a municipality in the Kansas City area. Now retired, she focuses on creating artwork for her friends and acquaintances, and she is active in her community as the planning commissioner. In 1980, however, Anne was diagnosed with a hereditary eye disease that causes vision to get worse as an inner layer of the cornea deteriorates. “I went to see my doctor for my yearly exam,” Anne said, “and I was diagnosed with Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy, which, if left untreated, would have blinded me in the left eye.”
For some time, Anne was able to continue her work, both as a teacher and an artist, by keeping routine appointments with her doctor. Together, they could retain her vision by regularly updating the prescription of her glasses. By 2007, however, her doctor finally recommended her to a corneal transplant specialist to fix her vision once and for all. Dr. Tim Cavanaugh of the Cavanaugh Eye Center conducted the operation, replacing the diseased portion of her cornea with corneal tissue donated by a generous donor and their family.
The transplant was a success. “I had to stay still for a day or two after surgery, but my vision in the left eye was 20/30 afterward,” Anne said. “It was a very easy procedure to go through.” Furthermore, the benefits of the surgery have continued for Anne. “I ordered new glasses after the surgery, and I am still wearing those glasses,” she said. “My sight has changed so little in seven years that new lenses are not necessary.”
Today, Anne continues to make art, including creating the cover art for Saving Sight’s 2014 holiday card. She is very thankful for the opportunity the transplant has afforded her, both personally and professionally. “I owe so much to the donor, my doctors, and Saving Sight,” she said. “Thanks to the cornea transplant, I can not only see but also continue as an artist.”
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.