Margaret suffered from Keratoconus, an eye condition that affects the cornea and sits within a group of eye diseases known as corneal dystrophies. With Keratoconus, the normally round dome-shaped outer layer of the eye, the cornea, progressively thins, causing a cone-shaped bulge to develop. This meant that for 23 years she was progressively going blind.

When Margaret first attended the Eye Hospital in Bristol there was only a 50/50 chance that a corneal graft would save her sight. Anxious about undergoing an operation with these odds, Margaret decided not to go ahead with the procedure.

During this time, research funded by the National Eye Research Centre improved this success rate to around 90%. So she decided to go ahead and have one eye operated on. The operation took place on the Thursday and by Saturday her sight was already recovering. The following year she had the other eye grafted, with equal success.

Margaret’s world improved dramatically: she could see her family’s faces, watch television and read books. She could enjoy experiences many of us don’t think twice about, such as a spider spinning its web. Her independence also improved dramatically, as she could go out on her own and say "hello" to people. Previously she couldn’t see them and they would just walk by, ignoring her.

I feel so lucky. Without the research that developed the corneal graft procedure I would be blind and dependent on a guide dog. Now 3,500 people benefit every year from the life-changing procedure of a corneal graft; all made possible by the research funded by National Eye Research Centre.

Your generous donations are helping us fund research that will help people like Margaret, along with thousands of others who are living sight loss and blindness. Together, we can beat sight loss forever.

Please donate today to help UK researchers develop new treatment methods for all eye diseases, wherever the need is greatest. 


Read more about corneal dystrophy here