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My Affinity for Saint Lucy and My Battle with Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy

Saint Lucy and Virginia Lieto Saint Lucy was born in 283 A.D. in Syracuse, Italy, what we refer to today as Sicily. Little is known about this Saint, except that she died young (age 21 in 304 A.D.) because of the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution. The one thing I can tell you about Saint Lucy is that she is the patron saint of the blind and those with eye disorders.

My Affinity for Saint Lucy

I have a special place in my heart for Saint Lucy, as she got me through a very difficult time in my life. In 2000, I was diagnosed with Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy. This eye disease is supposedly hereditary, yet I knew of no one in my family who suffered from what I suffered. Every eye has thousands of water pumps in them that regulate the amount of water retained within the eye. When those water pumps break down, water is retained within the eye, and you have Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy. The symptoms come on gradually. You begin to see through a “mist” during early mornings, with the eye somewhat drying out as the day wears on. Yet, there comes a point where the “mist” remains throughout the day, impairing your ability to see well. Cataracts form and the eyesight worsens. Eventually you need to have the cataracts removed and you need partial corneal transplants.

Saint Lucy to My Aid

In 2008, I received two operations to remove the cataracts and obtain the transplants; an operation done in each eye – one in January; the other in April that year. All I know about the donors was that one cornea came from a two-year-old girl who had died; the other from a 43-year-old man. I continue to pray for them both, and I continue to pray for increased organ donations.

It was Saint Lucy who helped me through this time in my life. She interceded on my behalf to get me the help I needed. Because of the operations, my eyesight greatly improved. Saint Lucy, I thank you for your support. I wish you a Happy Feast Day!

This post also appears on Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, and Top Catholic Blogs

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5 Responses to My Affinity for Saint Lucy and My Battle with Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy

  • Thanks for sharing! One of the treasures of our Church is the many saints who watch over our special needs and endeavors. Blessings.

  • Oh my goodness. I think this is what caused my father’s blindness. As best as I understood it my father suffered from some sort of hereditary cataract problem and in the late 1960’s they attempted an operation on both his eyes. They didn’t have laser surgery back then and it had to be done by hand. It was an abysmal failure and my father in his mid thirties at the time was left blind in both eyes for life. His two sisters also had similar problem, though they did not elect to have operations and lived with limited sight. St. Lucy (or as we called her, Santa Lucia in Italian) is our family patron saint. God be with you. Thank goodness they had the surgical equipment for your operations. If I can ask, can you say a prayer for my father, Mario, who passed away in 2006. He lived to almost 71, which made living half his life in the dark.

    • Hi Manny! Good to hear from you. Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy usually doesn’t start until mid-life. I was diagnosed at age 42. Laser surgery would not be appropriate for my situation. I had a corneal surgeon monitor the growth of the cataracts for several years, before undergoing the surgery at the age of 51. The surgery was “manual”, and at one point in the surgical process, they had to awaken me to complete the surgery. For the first surgery, that was pretty scary. However, after the first surgery, I saw a drastic improvement in eyesight immediately upon removal of the bandages. With those results, I couldn’t get back on that operating table fast enough! Three months later, they were able to do the surgery on the second eye. I am blessed to have a top-notch corneal surgeon, Dr. William Hammonds from Charlotte, NC.

      I’m sorry to hear of the cross your father had to bear because of the loss of his eyesight. I will definitely say a prayer for his soul today. May he be enjoying the vision of the Blessed Trinity at this very moment!

      God bless, and have a wonderful Christmas season.



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