Over on my profile page at Facebook, a friend of mine had some questions about my Corneal Transplant that I had done in October of last year. I'm almost eight months post-transplant. Barring a few complications, so far, I'm doing quite well.
My friend's father had passed away a while back, and she had his corneas donated. They went to two different individuals. Thanks to her gift of her father's corneas, two more people are able to see the world around them.
There is sadly not as much conversation, education and awareness, as well as support for Corneal Grafting Transplants. We seem to be on the back burner. Mainly because to many it's "just an eye" and it's "just tissue". But the reality is...it is SO MUCH more than that!
Corneas are literally the windows to the world around us. Without corneas, you would not be able to see. AT ALL! Nor can you protect your eyes from MOST infections. Especially those that are air-borne caused.
Like many other things. Your eyes (and your corneas) get taken for granted. That is, until you lose the cornea, your sight, and almost the entire eye(s).
Here are the questions that she asks, and my answers.
Can you drive after you've had a cornea transplant ? No, not at this time. Due to complications of tight stitching and an ever-more developing Cataract, I am Legally Blind and would not be able to see things clearly from the left side or from my peripheral vision, which is still limited as well.
What about contact sports, swimming, flying etc? I can now just go back in to the water, but must be careful doing so. Contact sports are still a no-no. Flying, I don't know of yet either. I'm hoping to be allowed to get on roller coasters this summer with my kids at King's Dominion. Should know today, being I have a two-month checkup this afternoon.
Can the pressure from those cause damage to the transplant ? Ocular pressure certainly can harm the transplant. This is why it is checked at every visit. And for the first six weeks post-transplant, I wasn't allowed to bend at the waist, pick up objects (even my child) if they were over a specified weight, and even sex was banned.
Also, for the first week, I was not allowed to take a regular shower or wash my hair. I wasn't allowed to use face wash for the first month. I didn't color my hair again until like four months after surgery.
Just the other weekend, I got in to the pool. Before then, that was a no-no due to the chemicals used.
We (Corneal Graft patients) are placed on the ocular version of Prednisone. The side effects remain within the eye region, instead of having overall systemic effects.
I'm pretty sure I have some nerve damage in the way of nerve sensitivity. Now extreme heat (over 350 from an oven) and extreme cold (like from a freezer) either gives me a sharp pain or a "searing" feeling. I noticed those the first time I got to cook again, and when I opened a freezer section door at the store. And it's been like that ever since.
If anyone has ANY question in regards to Corneal Transplantation, or Donation, please feel free to ask away. Also, if you have yet to become a registered Organ/Tissue/Eye/Bone Donor, please click HERE and become a HERO.