For 35 years Bharat Patel lived with little or no vision. A condition called keratoconus meant that part of his eye grew into a cone shape meaning light didn’t reflect on to his retina to form images.
That all changed when an organ donor gave him the ‘ultimate gift’.
Bharat underwent a cornea transplant at Leicester’s Hospitals in the summer.
Bharat Patel: “It is the ultimate gift – there are no words. My donor, whoever he or she is, has given me the gift of sight.
“For 35 years I have lived with very little vision. I have relied on a highly specialised contact lens for the little vision I have had.”
Earlier this year, he received the call he had been waiting for – a cornea had been donated and was suitable for him.
“Straight after the transplant I could see the shape of my surgeon’s face, and it has been improving since the surgery.
“That is all thanks to someone being on the organ donation register and consenting to donating their eye so that the cornea can be transplanted.
“It is the ultimate gift mankind can give.”
Stephenie Tiew is the consultant who performed Bharat’s surgery. She said: “It’s a dark world for patients waiting for a cornea. A cornea donation and transplant gives patients a new lease of life.
“I’ve treated patients who have not been able to see their children or grandchildren’s faces and after a transplant they can – you can’t describe how it feels to be part of that.
“I’m humbled to be involved and so thankful to everyone who is involved with looking after patients all the way through. Everyone involved is incredibly thankful to the patients and families of those who make this happen.
“I’d urge everyone to think about ticking that box, it can make such a difference to a person’s life.”
For more information about cornea donation and transplant, visit About cornea donation - NHS Organ Donation