A Rare, Delicate Surgery Has Given My Blind Daughter Sight

October 6, 2011

Body

Dr. Hamill operates on patient Georgia Kate

My baby girl was born blind with a rare disease that clouded her eyes. She had a corneal transplant at 9 days old, and now she can see.

georgia-kate-before-surgery

My daughter, Georgia Kate, was born on June 16 with a rare congenital eye disease that clouded her blue eyes with a white, milky substance limiting her vision to really only see light and dark. I had a normal pregnancy and normal delivery, but after she was born she peeked open her little eyes and I immediately knew something was wrong.

We were told that Georgia Kate had Peter's Anomaly, a rare disease that affects 0.04% of the population, and I immediately picked up the phone to call ophthalmologists in New York, Texas, Philadelphia, Boston and California. I wanted to know everything about this condition, what could be done and where we could find the best doctor to help her. I spent countless hours doing research and learned that her best chance of having any sight at all would be to have a corneal transplant within the first two months of life.

Most pediatric ophthalmologists will not do this operation on the tiny eyes of a newborn and suggest waiting until the child is older. But my husband and I knew that if we didn't act quickly, her brain and eye muscles would not develop and her vision would be very limited, even if we magically gave her new eyes at the age of 1 or 2. Then we found new hope at Texas Children's.

georgia-kate-with-eye-guardNine days after Georgia Kate was born, she was on an operating table at Texas Children's and received a corneal transplant on her right eye from Dr. Bowes Hamill. This surgery was the toughest yet best decision we've ever made. On September 1, when she was 2 1/2 months old, Georgia Kate had her left eye transplanted. Both procedures went as well as we could've hoped.

When we took off her patch for the first time, her face lit up as her eyes made contact with mine and I just knew that she could see. We are so excited that her eyes can track us as a normal young baby should and she can keep her eyes on us as we walk across the room. Two months ago, we didn't know that she would ever be able to do that!

georgia-kate-with-dad-at-homeBecause of Dr. Hamill and her donors, I have hope that she will be able to function normally and be a happy and health little girl. She may never have 20-20 vision, but I want her to be able to go to school, play in the yard with her big sister and maybe even get a driver's license when she's older. And this functional sight is enough for us and has made our journey worth it.

We are so thankful for this life-changing surgery by Dr. Hamill and the two donors of her corneas that have given my daughter sight and a new life.

 

Watch George Kate's story: "Infant offered the gift of sight at Texas Children's" on CBS.

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