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There Will Always Be Light at the End of the Tunnel

Keratoconus, corneal transplant, crosslinking, by Kirsty Boylan

I went to a regular check up in 2006 where I was told I had a problem with my eye. I was referred to my local eye clinic near my house and was diagnosed that day with keratoconus. I was so scared but was told I could get soft contact lenses which I did and they were great for the first two years until my doctor noticed my left eye  as progressing very quickly.

My night time driving became bad I couldn't make out road markings the lights from cars and lamps made my eyes go crazy and see halos it was scary so I stopped driving at night. I tried a contact lens a hard rgp in my left eye but it was too advanced and it was time for a co real transplant. My right eye could tolerate the rgp lens so I wore one in that eye.

September2014 I underwent a partial corneal transplant and hours after the surgery I could read a coffee cup sign my mum was drinking from it was there first thing it years I could read from that eye previously it was blurry and I couldn't make out somebody's face let alone small writing I was so happy. My check up the next day went well my surgeon was happy I felt happy id made a great decision.

Getting use to taking all the drops was hard I had steroid drops antibiotic drops and drops to stop my eye from drying out but I soon got use to them.

However a week later my surgeon noticed my stitches were coming loose already and they are meant to stay in front year to eighteen months. My body was having a huge host attack on them which I was put on high steroid tablets my steroid drops increased this was a scary time my eye was sore.

Weeks passed and I had to have stitches removed to prevent infection I had eight out of my twenty four taken out in a space of a month and in October 2014 I us between surgery to have them put back in while I was awake this freaked me out but I handled it ok. I was put asleep for the graft surgery.

I got over all of the above and experience my first rejection episode in December 2014 where I was put back on steroid tablets drops increased etc my eye settled down but left it hazey and blurry even more than before it was scarred from the rejection.

I had my crosslinking in Jan 2015. epi-off on my right eye and was awake it was painful afterwards but no pain no gain and I knew the reason would be to stop it getting worse and hopefully never needing to have a graft done. My kc has stopped progressing in my right eye and I'm so pleased.

Shortly after my crosslinking my graft went down hill again blood vessels had gotten into my graft causing major issues I needed another injection to stop them growing this  one I experienced a small hemorrhage which looked worse than what it was but my eye fought back and came out of it leaving it more scarred this time it was left like looking trough a dirty contact lens I was so upset.

This is when my surgeon stared to speaking about a re-graft. after waiting weeks nothing changed with my sight and adjusted my drops and things didn't look great. March 2015 I was told it had failed and would definitely need a new graft in the near future.

Here I am now in April 2015 after going to a check up with my doctor facing the blood vessels back in my graft worse than ever before and another injection was given drops increased.i won't be able to have a re graft done till my eye settles down and blood vessels are out of the area for a period of time due to it being a high risk of rejection of a new one was put in place now.

This has been the toughest journey of my life having to give up driving being off sick from work since my graft operation eight months ago as I work with computers and my job requires me to drive also both things I cannot do my right eye prescription had changed meaning my rgp I had from last year I need a new one but waiting lists are very long but it is a at it is.

I am very grateful to my donor and my donors family for giving me the chance of being able to see again. without them I wouldn't have been given a chance I continue to be grateful and I'm gutted I can never thank them enough. This is a long road to recovery and achieving what I want to achieve but there will always be light at the end of the tunnel.

The above story was shared by Kirsty Boylan, a member of our Facebook keratoconus community.

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