Fuchs’ dystrophy, a disease that causes the cornea to deteriorate, is one of the main reasons why someone requires a cornea transplant. It’s also hereditary, often touching multiple family members.
Connie of Bentley, Kan., for instance, was the fourth person in her immediate family to be diagnosed with Fuchs’. Suffering from the same disease that affected her father, brother and twin sister, Connie knew a corneal transplant was her only option for better vision.
For years, Connie’s vision had been slowly deteriorating and soon affected her ability to drive at night or work on the computer – critical skills she needed to perform her jobs in human relations and as a Christian counselor. “I had to wear sunglasses all the time because there was too much sunlight coming in,” she remarked. “I also completely lost my night vision. I couldn’t drive anywhere; my poor vision took my freedom away.” In addition, Connie could no longer read in the morning – a hobby she always loved – since her eyesight would be foggy until late morning.
Finally, Connie underwent a cornea transplant on her left eye with tissue provided by a caring donor and their family. Within weeks, her vision slowly started returning, giving her the ability to enjoy her favorite activities and see her children and grandchildren. In fact, the eyesight in her left eye is now so strong, her doctor decided he could wait a few more years before performing a transplant on her right eye.
As someone who has received the gift of sight and understands the amazing generosity of donor families, Connie encourages her fellow Kansans to join the state’s new first-person consent donor registry. By signing up at www.donatelifekansas.com, you, not your family members, have the final say over your donation wishes.
“It’s so important to sign up,” said Connie. “You’re giving someone a second chance with your donation. You never know who that person’s going to be or what their situation is, but providing such a vital gift to them is tremendous.”