“Cornea transplantation made it possible for me to reclaim my independence; I could drive and read again, I no longer struggled with depth perception issues as I had before and I did not have to sit at home at night anymore” says Gina.

In the late 1970s, Gina found it difficult to do her job due to significant vision impairments. "I had had problems with vision all my life, but I had completed my degree and had joined the Merchant Marines. I was working, but in order to advance in marine engineering, I had to meet specific physical requirements. At that time, radial keratotomy surgery was done with a knife because laser surgery had not yet started." Gina underwent radial keratotomy twice in each eye in an effort to correct her vision and to meet the physical requirements for licensing in the Merchant Marines. Even after going through surgery, her vision remained poor enough that she had to leave the ship.

Gina continued to have problems and developed further issues that complicated her vision. Her vision would change dramatically throughout the day. Her depth perception was seriously altered and she did not have good definition to her sight. “I could see the trees but not the birds in the trees,” said Gina. “it is exhausting to see images the way I was seeing them, I would see multiple images of a single item I was looking at.” She further commented that due to the surgeries she had already had, her vision could not be corrected and she had significant issues with the amount of scar tissue that had built up from the surgeries.

“I was frustrated with all of my vision issues and the limitations that it presented,” says Gina. However, she was excited to hear from a friend of hers about a cornea transplant he had received. Gina went to see a specialist and it was decided that she was a good candidate and would go forward with a cornea transplant in her right eye.

“The transplant was 15 years ago and I don’t even think about sight limitation anymore. I do what I want and I am not limited by my vision. I have to wear glasses, but that is nothing compared to what it was before. I can read, recognize people from a distance, drive, and my depth perception is so much better. The things that use[d] to limit me are no longer an issue” Gina reported. “If I had not had a cornea transplant, I don’t know what I would have done. Vision is involved in every moment of your day and I could not be working in the fields that I have chosen without the transplant!

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