A New Pair Of Eyes

Transplants, transplants, everywhere.

This is an amazing time in modern medicine. It seems like nearly anything a dead person can have and a living person can need is transplantable – even faces, as we’ve seen of late.

We hear a lot about heart, liver, and kidney transplants, but much less is said about the most common type of transplant in the U.S. (about 40,000 per year.)

Corneal transplantation is relatively easy and safe. Since the cornea is not blood-infused like the liver or heart, there’s no need to match donors with recipients; any cornea can go to any patient who needs one. And because the surgery is relatively noninvasive, it can be done as an outpatient procedure. Patients spend a few days with an eye patch, then they’re good to go.

It’s such a minor, common surgery that I hadn’t heard of it until my dad became a donor. A few months after his death, my family received a card in the mail. It said that a woman in Oak Park could now see because of my father’s donation.

I think about that often. Even though he’ll never see the world again, he’s given her a window so that she can see.

Weird science? Yes. But beautiful.

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