THANKS to the gift of donor corneal tissue, Angela Gleeson has good sight again in her left eye and intends to return to work soon.
Mrs Gleeson, 45, of Bushfield, stopped working as a nurse about eight months ago after her left eye rejected the cornea transplant she received more than 25 years ago.
She waited seven months before more tissue became available last month and is deeply grateful to the donor and the donor’s family.
The mother of three decided to tell her story during this week’s DonateLife Week to encourage more people to register their agreement to donate their organs and tissues in the event of their deaths.
Mrs Gleeson has astigmatism, a condition where the front surface of the eye, the cornea, is flatter than the curved shape it should be, causing blurred vision.
She had corneal transplants on each eye more than 25 years ago but last year the vision in her left eye deteriorated significantly after the eye rejected the transplant.
Her blurred vision led her to give up her job as a nurse and imposed many responsibilities on her family and others to take over tasks such as driving at night.
Mrs Gleeson said it was a long seven months before a cornea became available and she was thrilled at getting her sight back after an operation in mid-January in Geelong.
“I’ve been fortunate to get the gift of vision back due to donor tissue,” she said.
This week’s DonateLife event encourages people to talk about the possibility of becoming an organ donor so that more Australians can have a healthier future.
The national Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) said organ and tissue donations saved and transformed the lives of recipients and their families.
One donor can transform the lives of up to 10 people and significantly improve the lives of many more. In 2012, 354 organ donors gave 1053 Australians a new chance in life.
People can register their decision to become an organ and tissue donor at any Medicare branch, phone 1800 777 203, or register online at the Australian Organ Donor Register website: www.humanservices.gov.au/organdonor
The OTA said the majority of Australians were willing to become organ and tissue donors, but their family’s support and agreement was needed.
Although three in four Australians have discussed the donation of organs and tissue with their family, only 53 per cent of people know what the definite decision of a loved one is on organ and tissue donation.
DonateLife week aims to encourage families to discuss and confirm their loved ones’ donation decisions.