A double transplant bringing hope and positivity.
Jennifer Jones from Pwllheli was diagnosed with a serious eye condition five years ago which quickly deteriorated. She could no longer work or enjoy her hobby - photography. After two corneal transplants, her sight is recovering and she is so grateful for her donor’s generosity which is helping her to live her life normally again. She explains:
“At just 24 years I was diagnosed with Keratoconus, a condition resulting in the thinning of the cornea (the eye’s outermost layer that covers the front of the eye) and blurred vision. I wore contact lenses which helped and had treatment to strengthen the cornea. But this was only a temporary measure and eventually my eyesight got so bad that I had to change my contact lenses every couple of hours.
“It was an extremely difficult time for me and my family. I struggled with my poor eyesight and felt so restricted that I hardly left the house. Before my diagnosis, I was an amateur photographer and used to spend all my free time outside taking photos. It was horrible not being able to pursue my passion anymore; it felt like all the things I enjoyed doing were taken away from me.
“I was put on the transplant waiting list in November 2015 and shortly after had my first corneal transplant. I couldn’t believe the difference it made to my eyesight. It was the smaller details that I could see again, such as seeing my family clearly and remembering how vibrant colours are. Just a few weeks ago, I had another corneal transplant for my other eye. I’m still recovering from this, but I’m overwhelmed by the difference it has made and feel ready to continue with my life properly again. I hope to return to work soon and continue my hobby of photography. I’m excited for my future and both transplants have given me so much positivity.
“Before I needed a transplant, I was like many others and signed up to the organ donor register but didn’t want to donate my eyes. After my diagnosis, it struck me that there isn’t enough awareness around the procedure of a corneal transplant. I would definitely encourage others to sign up to the organ donor register and inform their loved ones of their decision, such a small gesture can save and transform up to 9 people’s lives. I’ve had a conversation about it with my family and my experience has made us realise how important a decision to donate can be. Corneal transplants are the end of the road for many people with eye diseases or those who have suffered trauma to the eye, but it really is life transforming and makes such a difference to their everyday life.”