Carmen’s Story: Seeing Clearly

Outdoor portrait of cornea recipient Carmen

Carmen has the warm and inviting smile of a dear friend. It is the kind of smile that makes those around her want to smile too. Her bright smile is there today because she sees life much more clearly than she did several years ago, before a corneal transplant changed her life.

At the age of 19, Carmen was diagnosed with a progressive medical condition that affected her vision. As Carmen’s eyesight gradually deteriorated over time, her daily activities became very limited. Carmen struggled to simply view the computer screen at her job as an accountant, and she suffered a serious bicycle accident, badly injuring her knees. Carmen sought medical treatment in her native Mexico, where she lived at the time, but attempts to restore her eyesight were unsuccessful.

Carmen’s hopes of regaining her vision were fading, but she didn’t give up. in 2004, shortly after relocating to the United States and settling down in Arizona, Carmen met with transplant surgeons to assess her options. Doctors determined that a corneal transplant would be the key to restoring Carmen’s sight, and she decided to pursue the surgery. Carmen’s transplant was a success.

Today, Carmen has resumed living the life she loves without limitation, and she eagerly talks about the importance of registering as a donor. She also works to dispel the myths and misconceptions that may prevent some people from saying “yes” to donation.

Carmen acknowledges the life-changing decision of donors and their families with gratitude for what they make possible. “Without their generosity,” says Carmen, “I would not have been able to regain my sight…this is truly an incredible gift.”

Story shared by Donor Network of Arizona.