A new art exhibit in Fort Collins asked recipients of corneal transplants to take a camera and capture the things they were most thankful to be able to see through their restored vision.
The photographs are on display at the Art Lab gallery at 239 Linden St. and feature 25 photographs picked from more than 150 sent in. The display hopes to show the impact eye donors have on the lives of others and in the Fort Collins community.
â€œMy wife so savored life,â€ said a donor family in a letter to the transplant recipient. â€œWith your newfound vision, go forth each new day and savor the beauty around you.â€
In the last 20 years, the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank, which is putting on the display asked for the photo submissions in 2009, has carried out the wish of over 20,000 eye donors in Colorado and Wyoming by executing more than 19,000 sight-restorative transplants across the world.
Mary Ann Fox, a Fort Collins resident and corneal transplant recipient, suffered from complications from LASIK surgery in 1999.
Almost five years later she had the corneal transplant surgery to restore her vision in one eye, and in 2008 she was able to have the second surgery, correcting the vision in her other eye.
Fox took pictures of nature by her house. The majority of the photographs depicted nature that the recipients had not been capable of seeing.
â€œItâ€™s a gift for all of us when people choose to donate on their family memberâ€™s behalf. Their spirit truly lives on in us. I have such an appreciation for all donor families,â€ Fox said. Her husband teaches radiology and biology classes at CSU.
Robert Austin, the public relations director for the exhibit, shared his excitement for the project and the valuable medical research surrounding corneal transplants.
â€œOur goal is to educate the public that they can save people by becoming organ donors. People find reasons not to enter the organ registry, when in reality, almost everyone can be one,â€ Austin said.
Contrary to popular belief, anyone can be a donor regardless of age, eyesight, health condition or lifestyle.
Each year, approximately 600 people in Colorado and Wyoming receive sight-restorative transplants.
The display debuted on Friday and will be open until the end of the month.
Staff writer Sarah Banes can be reached at email@example.com.