One day in December 2009, Sarah Mittler looked at her kitchen wall clock, and it was blurry and cloudy. “It was as if I were looking through bubble wrap,” she recalled. Shealso noticed other vision problems, such as difficulty in watching TV and needing more light for reading. Driving was becoming tricky, too.
Sarah saw her eye doctor in January 2010 and learned she had Fuchs’ dystrophy, a buildup of fluid behind the cornea of the eye that causes vision distortion. After trying other therapies that failed to stop the deterioration of her vision, Sarah learned about a procedure called DSEK, where a layer of cornea is removed and replaced by a donor cornea. Her eye doctor said the transplant had little chance of rejection, a low rate of infection and a short healing time. “I was being given a gift of hope!” she exclaimed.
In August 2010, Sarah had her first surgery on one eye, and by the next morning she could see. “I opened my eye to clearly see the smiling faces of my children,” she said.She called a friend at the Illinois Eye-Bank to tell her of the “miracle.”
Her second surgery was in December 2010. “I could hardly wait to have vision in two eyes,” she said. Afterward, she did. “I could count the lights on the Christmas tree, drive in snow and see every day, all day,” she said.
“Words cannot express my gratitude for this beautiful gift,” Sarah said. “How could someone think of me during such a difficult time? I am overwhelmed each day, and I thank my donors for their unselfish gifts to me. I thank God each evening for the gift of sight, and each morning I ask God to embrace my donor families and bring them peace.”