Dalton Burger – Cornea Recipient

My incident happened 4 years ago when I was 19 and having fun. I attended a party with a few other friends having a good time. Unfortunately things went bad fast. I was leaving the party and a kid came up from behind me and as I turned around he hit me in the eye. I had my glasses on because my eyesight was bad already. The glass shattered into my eye. I didn’t really know at that time what was really happening to my eye. I thought it was swollen from the blow to my eye. A few hours later I went to the hospital where they did immediate eye surgery. It turned out my cornea had been damaged to no repair. After the first surgery I had 17 stitches, which took over a year to heal and take out. I didn’t think I would be able to see out of my left eye again. I was told at this time that I would need a cornea transplant along with cataract surgery(s). Also, I would be waiting for a cornea donor, which could take up to another year maybe more.

It was less than a year and there was a donor. At this point I was skeptical. My eyesight felt unrepairable. My right eye was doing all the work while my left eye was still healing and becoming healthy enough for the Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI) to do the transplant. Surgery was scheduled and 4 hours later; I had a new cornea and 26 stitches.

It was the next day after surgery when they took my eye dressing off……I couldn’t believe it. I could actually see out of my left eye. I can’t tell you how much joy I felt at that moment. I don’t cry often but I did that day. The cornea transplant was a perfect match for me.

I am now 23 years old and have been seeing the CEI on a continual basis. They are still removing the stitches and making sure my eye continues to repair in a healthy way. My eyesight continues to improve although the journey is still not over.

Me and my family are deeply grateful for the donor and donor family, as well as, CEI. I am incredibly blessed to have the gift of sight because of someone else’s act of giving.

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