Check out the testimonials of some of our most satisfied cornea transplant surgery patients!
The Gift of Sight: Cornea Recipient STEVE TANZER, D.O.
Going from the fear that he was about to lose his drivers’ license to having clear vision was dramatic for Steve Tanzer, D.O. That’s what he experienced in 2007, when he underwent two corneal transplants.
About two years earlier, Dr. Tanzer was in Florida where he discovered that, for the first time in his life, his eyes were extremely sensitive to the sunlight. The discomfort he felt compelled him to have his eyes examined, and he was diagnosed with Fuch’s Corneal Dystrophy. At the time, Dr. Richard Erdey explained that it was a degenerative disease and that his vision would need to be monitored.
Dr. Tanzer’s eye disease caused a rapid deterioration of his vision, and in 2007, he found himself facing cornea transplants. As a physician, he did his research and found that there were two types of transplants – traditional and partial-thickness – available for treating his condition. Dr. Erdey chose to perform the newer, partial thickness grafts.
After the first transplant, Dr. Tanzer says, his visual “clarity was amazing!” His vision returned rapidly in the first two months after the surgery. Six months later he had the second transplant, along with a cataract removal and lens replacement.
Had he not had the transplants, Dr. Tanzer says, “I wouldn’t be driving or working.” That was unthinkable for an athletic, young 59-year-old physician with an active family medicine practice.
Having done what he felt was thorough research, and having been through cancer surgery, Dr. Tanzer was not prepared for one aspect of his transplants. “Being a doctor, I didn’t expect it,” he says, “but the biggest surprise was the emotional impact” he felt, knowing that someone had to die in order for him to receive the gift of sight.
“It’s wonderful that people do this,” he said. “I love the transplant” because he is now able to see, “but I don’t love it” because the surgery depended on someone else’s loss. If he could speak to his donors’ families, he says, he would ask them, “What could I do for you, because this is something I can never repay?” His profound reaction to these circumstances was “a revelation for myself,” that he still thinks about a year after his first transplant.
“The surgery works – it’s wonderful, it’s a blessing!” according to Dr. Tanzer. And it is thanks to an eye donor that he is today a vital part of his community.
The Gift of Sight: Cornea Recipient BILL HARVEY
“I’m the luckiest guy in the world!” That’s what Bill Harvey has to say about his opportunity to have a new type of corneal transplant. According to Bill, his surgeon informed him that he was “in exactly the right place at the right time” to benefit from advancing technology.
Bill’s enthusiasm is about his two new corneas, both of which were specially prepared by the Central Ohio Lions Eye Bank. The Eye Bank used new equipment that makes it possible for surgeons to perform “partial-thickness” corneal transplants (DSEK). Not every transplant patient meets the medical criteria to be a candidate for the new procedure. Those who do are fortunate to encounter many advantages. Their transplants require few, if any stitches. They heal more quickly, retain the healthy parts of their own corneas, and have stronger grafts. Best of all, their sight is restored much sooner.
In Bill’s case, he knew his vision had diminished because of cataracts, but was surprised to learn that he also suffered from Fuchs’ Dystrophy, a corneal disease that would require a transplant. He was referred to a corneal specialist, Richard Erdey, M.D., after his optometrist told him that adjusting his lens prescription further would not return his sight.
“The timing was unbelievable,” Bill says. The doctor told him about the new corneal transplant procedure. “Let’s get her done!” he remembers replying.
“Within 60 days I was seeing much better. By 90 days, my vision was 20 -25.” He said it had been many years since he had seen so clearly.
When his first transplant was done, the cornea had to be brought in from another state, because the Eye Bank did not yet have the equipment needed to specially prepare it for the surgery. By the second transplant, “the doctor said he had great news” that the Central Ohio Lions Eye Bank now had the equipment, “making his work so much easier!”
“Today the sky is a magnificent blue. Red is red, green is green. I can see jets in the sky – before, I could only hear them,” Bill told the Eye Bank. “It’s a brand new world!” He has seven children, 11 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. Now, he says, “I can see every one, in every detail!”
The Gift of Sight: Cornea Recipient BOB EBER
I want to thank Dr. Erdey and his staff for my new sight in my left eye. It is so remarkable that I feel like I am beginning life anew and I am over 70 years old!
My right eye had a corneal transplant done in 1985 in Wisconsin by a different surgeon. It was beginning to fail and clear sight in that right eye was now becoming very foggy. Dr. Erdey insisted that I go for the transplant in the left eye as well as removing a cataract from that eye.
The surgery was done in different stages and resulted in the vision in my left eye allowing me to read several letters in the 20/30 range and even several in the 20/20 range with some lens assistance. Remarkably I can see 20/40 without any assistance from lenses at all.
Now I am patiently awaiting another corneal transplant in my right eye in the near future. I feel that the Erdey team, are tremendously knowledgeable and show great understanding for those of us needing a little more security. They made the surgeries less traumatic for me. I gained a fantastic appreciation of the skills and knowledge of the entire team at Erdey Eye Group as well as wonderful eyesight.
God bless you all for bearing with me and giving me back really usable vision at my age. You are truly gifted, well trained, and most humane at what you all do.
My wife and I travel about 220 miles to and from Columbus from Massillon, Ohio to access the Erdey Eye Group and we will continue to do so.
Dr.Richard Erdey is my only eye doctor!
Most sincerely, Bob Eber Massillon, Ohio
The Gift of Sight: Cornea Recipient PHELTON G. SIMMONS
On August 28, 2000, I became the grateful recipient of a cornea transplant, a gift of sight. I shall remain eternally appreciative to you Dr. Erdey and to you fine staff for all that you contributed to making that process possible. I am most grateful to the donor of the cornea as well as to the family and the Eye Bank Staff. Special thanks also to Drs. Janson and Errington for their capable follow-up. I appreciate everyone who contributed in anyway to that entire process.
Sincerely, Phelton G. Simmons
TO ALL CONCERNED:
I am a dear friend of Phelton and was involved in the wonderful miracle of his cornea transplant. I was privileged to be permitted to see the diseased cornea through the microscopic lens. Following the transplant, I was shown the awesome transformation that took place. I watched the gradual process that Phelton made. I cannot describe the joy of being present the first time he was able to read the headlines of the daily paper and the surge of excitement I felt when he announced, “I can read this”. What a tremendous blessing. I am awed by the fact that a total stranger made it possible for him to enjoy the gift of sight. At the same time, I feel a sense of sadness as I think what might have happened to the donor and the possible grief of family, friends and loved ones. The miracle of a connection that we all share is overwhelming. May each of you know peace.
Sincerely, Alice J. Betsill