When a Simple Scratch Leads to a Serious Situation

What should have been a normal school day for Carly, then a senior at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Burlington County, New Jersey, turned into a scary and sight-compromising experience in the blink of an eye. After rubbing her itchy eyes one morning, Carly accidentally scratched her cornea. That night, Carly’s eye ulcerated—the scratch became an open sore on her cornea. “At that point I couldn’t see,” she recalls. “It was a very sudden change that was very scary and very painful.” After exploring several options, including corrective lenses, Carly and her doctor decided her best option was to receive a cornea transplant. “One day after surgery I went in to get the patch removed and check my vision,” Carly recalls. “It was so much clearer than before that I started crying.” Now a freshman at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Carly majors in International Relations. She supports Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley at different functions and is so grateful to her donor’s family. “I am just really honored that they would think of me like that.”

Correcting a Painful Family Heritage

Raising 14 children is no small task, especially while suffering from a painful, debilitating eye condition. But for Anna Maria, this struggle was a day-to-day reality. Although Anna Maria was never diagnosed and eventually went blind, her hereditary eye disease would ultimately affect 50 family members. Three generations later, the frustrated family finally received a diagnosis—and relief—thanks to Wills Eye Hospital. In 1967, Anna Maria’s granddaughter Patty visited Peter R. Laibson, MD. Dr. Laibson diagnosed Patty with Lattice Corneal Dystrophy (LCD), an inherited condition that can cause vision loss in the absence of a corneal transplant. With the condition identified, Dr. Laibson performed corneal transplants for several members of the family. “Everyone in the family considers those involved in the transplant process heroes,” says Patty’s sister Ellen.

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Monday, August 12th, 2019