Fighting for Sight: cornea transplant part one - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fighting for Sight: cornea transplant part one


by Danielle Wagner

TRIPOLI (KWWL) -- When Grace Mowatt was born... parents Bruce and Leslie knew something was wrong.

"She didn't open her eyes when she was first born," said Leslie Mowatt.

Grace's eyes were completely blood shot. At her two-week appointment, doctors had never seen anything like it and referred her to an optometrist. One eye was diagnosed with glaucoma. The other had a lot of scar tissue.

"She has a congenital disorder called Reikers Syndrome. When she was in utero her eyes didn't develop. She doesn't have the same drainage ducts to remove pressure on her eyes," said Leslie Mowatt.

At just 16 days old, Grace had her first eye surgery.

"Our initial diagnosis was they didn't think she'd have sight. Then 50 percent chance she'd see well enough to learn, but never be able to drive a car," said Leslie Mowatt.

After two surgeries, her left eye was fine. Then, it was time for the right eye.

Bruce and Leslie got word donor tissue was available and Grace was deemed a good candidate for a transplant.

At just three months old, Grace had a cornea transplant. The child they initially thought would be legally blind could see from both of her eyes.

"Everything was going great. She got a contact lens to help her with her vision," said Mowatt.

But, she got an infection in her eye from the contact lens.

"The infection spread in her eye. We were able to stop it to save her eye, but it caused a scar on her transplant," said Leslie Mowatt.

Now, one and a half year old Grace is awaiting her second cornea transplant, hoping to once again fully restore her sight.

"It's been challenging but we've come through it and we've realized there could be a lot worse things," said Bruce Mowatt.

The family hopes the next transplant will be Grace's last eye-related surgery.

Click here to read part two of this story

Online Reporter: Danielle Wagner
Online Producer: Mike Verlo

Powered by Frankly