I Might Never Get My Vision Back, but I Got a Degree.

The following story is shared by Teagan Couper: 

I might never get my vision back, but I got a degree.

Today, I successfully completed my undergraduate degree with a double major in history and criminology, for some this is only a minor feat in life, but for those suffering from eye disease it’s a triumphant accomplishment.

When I was 19, working full time, I discovered I had significant less vision in my right eye. It was blurry, sore and uncomfortable. A local optometrist referred me to have an orbscan conducted which diagnosed keratoconus. My local optometrist altered my spectacle prescription and booked me in for a 12 month check up. I’m sure all you fellow sufferers know that spectacles don’t last long and the importance of seeing a specialist who is familiar with the disease is imperative
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My mum was really great during this process, she jumped online, did copious amounts of research and made many inquires. Within a matter of weeks, I had seen the best contact lens specialist in Melbourne and had been fitted for hard contact lenses. I tolerated the lens for maybe 6 months, and then I was scheduled in for the new corneal collagen cross linking procedure, still experimental with no government health rebates, so it was expensive.

Within the 12 months from the diagnosis and before my surgery I managed to travel Europe and obtain a job closer to home, driving was become increasingly difficult and the uncertainly of my vision was a consistent reminder to not delay life’s ambitions. I know it sounds dramatic but the uncertainty surrounding my loss of vision and further deterioration required urgent attention.

The surgery was horrible. My eyes were swollen, red, and incredibly painful; it was such an emotionally difficult time for me. After recovery and in the months following the surgery, my eyes stabilised and I learnt to tolerate hybrid lenses with the use of spectacles.

I then made the decision to go to University. If not now, then when?

I knew study was going to be difficult, assignments and reading would take longer, sitting in lectures uncomfortable and daily headaches the norm but I was motivated, supported and excited.

I required extensions, readings in large font and extra breaks during exams but I managed. 1 year into my degree I had the cross linking done, this time on my left eye. It was horrible...again, but I understood the benefits and managed to recover quickly.

I’m 24 now and apart from a little progression in my right eye which causes prescription changes, my eyes have somewhat stabilised. I just use spectacles; I manage better without the discomfort of contact lenses.

I understand I will never get my vision back, but I may also never need a cornea transplant. I don’t drive at night, in the glare, in the rain and I can’t see more than 10 meters in front of me but I’m coping.

We will all manage.

Teagan Couper

3 comments:

  1. Teagan, I can congratulate you on your achievement and commend you on all you have endured during the process. I'm forever grateful that you've allowed me to share aspects of your journey both in the past and whilst reading this post. I hope this post inspires other individuals in the same way it has inspired me.
    - Pat

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  2. So happy for you! You are to be commended for your attitude and fortitude! My son, like you, is 24. His Keratoconus had progressed to the point where cross linking wasn't an option anymore [ besides, he [ and we ] didn't have the money to pay for it anyway ]. He had the corneal transplants and his vision is so much better. He is driving himself again and looks forward to his future. Washington State, USA

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  3. You have done a remarkable job with all the problems. Most of us don't have that much strength. I can say without any doubt that you'll achieve much more in your life. Live your life as much as you can, don't hesitate. In the ocean of troubles that's the only way to survive. Salute to you and good luck

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