Friday, February 17, 2006


Corneal Transplantation for Keratoconus

A corneal transplant has been the mainstay of treatment for keratoconus if contact lenses fail due to discomfort or unsatisfactory visual quality. I found an interesting article a few days ago about an anaesthetist in the UK, who finally decided to have a corneal transplant at 50.

Follow the link to the Evening Times newspaper that is published in the UK and read the story. It brings up some interesting points that are worth discussing.

Today another article about a minister of the church in Scotland, who allowed himself to go blind because:
"I waited until I had nothing to lose and everything to gain." The article follows:

I was blind . . now i can see
A BLIND minister has said an emotional thank you to the family who gave him his sight back. Port Glasgow man Andrew MacLean suffers from a rare eye condition which left him in need of a cornea transplant. Almost two years after undergoing surgery, the St Andrew's minister was able to see. New laws have been pushed through parliament to increase the number of organ donors in Scotland. Reverend MacLean said: "I want to thank the family of my donor. "If someone has just lost a loved one tragically in an accident it is an amazing gesture to give someone else the gift, in my case of my sight, and for others the gift of life." In September last year Reverend MacLean had vision out of his right eye for the first time in over three years. Nearly two years before he had undergone the surgery to give him sight. Andrew will need another transplant in the future to give him vision in his left eye. The father-of-two, who spent most of his life wearing contact lenses to correct his condition known as keratoconus which in extreme cases like Andrew's can make you go blind. He admitted delaying surgery until his vision was gone completely because he was scared to go ahead with a transplant. Andrew added: "I waited until I had nothing to lose and everything to gain." The surgery has given him a new hunger for life. Mr MacLean said: "I still can't believe it. I look out and appreciate what an extraordinary, beautiful world we live in. Before I lost my sight I didn't realise just how beautiful it was." Although he is over the moon to be able to see a whole new world, Mr MacLean says he does not regret for one minute being blind. He said: "I do not regret having a disability. People are enormously kind. When I was waiting for a bus I used to stop drivers to ask them where they were going. I didn't always have a stick but they were always great with me." Mr MacLean also recalls a group of football fans taking time out from celebrating a victory for their team to help him down a hill. Earlier this month a new bill was introduced that means relatives of a registered organ donor will no longer have the right to veto the person's wishes.
This story appeared in the Greenock Telegraph on Sat, 18 Feb, 2006

These sorts of cases really do not need to happen, even here in NSW where corneal transplant tissue is difficult to come by. Once contact lenses have failed (and this only occurs in about 5% of cases) the contact lens specialist normally has a good relationship with a number of expert corneal transplant surgeons and therefore a prompt transpant normally can be promptly organised. Remember corneal transplants very rarely fail.

There is also a non-invasive treatment of keratoconus
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