keratoconus /ker·a·to·co·nus/

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Some of you may know about my issues with poor eyesight and the associated problems I live with because of bi-lateral Keratoconus.  I’ve worn contacts since 11-years-old, with near-sightedness since even younger–likely stemming from an accident when I was 6-years-old when my eyes were full flushed with leaded gas while trying to help fill a gasoline container from an elevated farm tank.

I had a corneal transplant to my left eye in 2005.  Prior to that, my eyesight had gotten so bad that I could not drive in rain or at night, or on any road that I was not already familiar with because I couldn’t read the street names in order to navigate.  At the time, my left eye was the worst of both eyes and so it was operated on first.  The transplant was a success and quickly I was able to wear glasses and could see enough to regain my driving freedom.  And just a year ago, I was able to start wearing a hybrid hard contact lens with a gas permeable skirt that brought me back to 20/20 corrected vision in my left eye for the first time in many, many years.

Keratoconus Vision Simulation via Keratomania.com
Keratoconus Vision Simulation via Keratomania.com

Keratoconus is a disease that causes the cornea to thin and thereby grow into an extreme cone-like shape.  It also causes astigmatism, which in my case is extreme with bumps and bends so numerous that my ophthalmologist cannot even complete some digital tests on my right eye because of the variations.  In turn, both problems cause extreme light sensitivity because the eye is receiving light and bouncing it off of multiple plains into the eye.  This is why I’m often seen wearing two pairs of sunglasses at the same time, a regular pair and then an over-glasses style pair on top.

But good news from my ophthalmologist today … on December 18th I finally get the transplant I need for my right eye which is currently legally blind.  Not just good news, the best!  From squinting and spending most of my day with my right eye literally closed so that it would not just blur my total vision, instead to the hopes of the success I’ve had with my left eye is a wonderous thought.

This also means that, while I’m still able, I need to get writing and posting some ‘lost’ services that never seemed to make it to the blog.  Last time I had the surgery I was a full week locked in a blackened room, so dark in fact that on the fifth day post-op I finally allowed the television to be turned on and what little I watched was literally through a white pillow case draped over the screen!

But as we all know, my blessings are at the cost of another’s tragedy.  For me to gain a healthy cornea, someone out there has lost their life and has donated such a precious gift to someone like me.  I truly hope that I am worthy of the donated cornea I already have, and I hope to hold myself worthy to the one I shall gain during this holiday season.  A blessed gift indeed.

To learn more about this disease, visit Keratomania.com at http://www.keratomania.com/keratoconus-vision-simulation.html, or visit The National Keratoconus Foundation at http://www.nkcf.org/ 

For more information on becoming an organ donor visit  http://organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/index.html

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