“Eye donation helped to lift the shutters on my sight“
“It was like shop shutters coming down then opening again. I would get bars across my eyes for a couple of minutes and then the bars would lift but week by week my vision was getting more and more blurry. I was getting headaches. I couldn’t see people’s faces unless they were very close to me. Glasses didn’t help. I relied on voice recognition when people knocked at the front door. It was getting very frightening.”
That’s how Londoner Mrs Ayse Hassan described the state of her deteriorating sight in both eyes before she underwent an operation for two corneal grafts.
Mrs Hassan wasn’t new to eye operations she had already had cataract operations three years ago. But when her local optician and the hospital who undertook her original surgery detected a serious problem she was referred to Moorfields Eye Hospital.
The corneal graft operation at Moorfields itself took less than an hour and restored Mrs Hassan’s vision. She arrived at Moorfields City Road at noon for the pre-operative preparation and was discharged at 4pm with her medication - anti-biotic eye drops which she needed to put in on the hour for 16 hours and another set for a treatment every four hours.
Describing her operation she says: “It has made such a difference I am glad I had it done I feel so grateful. I would to say to anyone in a similar don’t be scared, go ahead and have it done. It will make a lot of difference in your life. I was petrified thinking about it but I am so glad I did it.”
Moorfields undertakes more than a thousand corneal transplants a year, none of which would be possible without the kindness and generosity of those who agree to be eye donors.Without suitable corneas; patients have to face having their operations cancelled.
Mr Bruce Allan, a consultant in the refractive and corneal service at Moorfields explains why the donation service is so vital: “Without this tissue, we would have to buy the corneas from abroad or from the NHS Blood and Tissue bank which is also facing shortages. Buying issue is expensive for the NHS, and we cannot use any of that tissue for research purposes which helps Moorfields to develop pioneering treatments for ocular surface disease. Much of our corneal surgery and our research are dependent on the kindness of those who volunteer to donate their tissue to the Moorfields Lions Eye Bank after their deaths.”