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Post Cornea Transplant Disappointment

April 14, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

On November 1, 2004, I had the fourth cornea transplant performed on my right eye. All the sight in my left eye has been absent since age 3 and there is no hope of any recovery there. In addition to this fourth cornea, a lens was implanted to replace the kateract removed at an early age. In the couple of months after this fourth transplant, I enjoyed more sight than I could remember since at least age 10 or 11. I could count fingers several feet away and even read the numbers on some digital displays! Sadly, this didn’t last long. Over the past year, the new cornea has been clouding in the same way as the three before it. This past Wednesday, my cornea transplant surgeon told me that the process of corneal scarring is accelerating and becoming more noticeable. I have gone from counting fingers at a distance of two or three feet to seeing only hand motion at one to two feet. Given the current state of the art, there is no medication or anything else that can be done to reverse this disappointing process. I now have less eye sight than I had before this last cornea transplant! I am hopeful that emerging technologies, such as artificial corneas and stem cell transplantation, will someday result in a significant increase in my sight.

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