Would you donate your sight? Joshua's winding journey from dim to clear vision

Joshua Mugambi.

Photo credit: Lions SightFirst Eye Hospital

Joshua Mugambi, 20, started having a problem with his eyes at the age of six. He would rub them uncontrollably.

When his mother took him to hospital upon realising his vision was being affected, she was told he had an allergy. The hospital prescribed some eye drops to take care of the problem.

It didn’t work.

Joshua suffered a lot in school. He could not see the board clearly, and his peers bullied him. His eyes had shrunk as a result of the frequent rubbing. Moreover, he had to tilt his head up to see, because standing straight, he could not see beyond his nose.

People began to talk. Some believed Joshua had been bewitched. Joshua’s confidence decreased with every passing day.

His mother and grandmother began to believe too, that maybe it was indeed sorcery at work, given that he would not respond to any medication. So they took him to a witchdoctor to ‘reverse the curse’. Still, Joshua’s condition persisted.

They turned to herbal medication. Joshua had to wash his face and eyes in it for a prescribed period. However, his vision only got worse.

One day a teacher suggested that he visits Lions SightFirst Eye Hospital. That’s where a cornea specialist diagnosed Joshua with Keratoconus – a condition that comes about when one has a damaged cornea. The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber.

The eye specialist suggested a cornea transplant. Joshua was put on the waiting list. There were many people on the list.

Joshua waited for a year and it was time for him to sit for his exam. He made a special request to have the transplant done so that he would be able to sit for his exam. A cornea was found and the surgery was done.

The procedure was successful. He sat for his exam in 2022 and did well. 

Joshua’s eyesight has greatly improved. Through a person who had pledged to donate their cornea, he can now see the colours of this world much clearer.

The World Transplant Day is marked every June 6. Make a pledge to donate your cornea when you exit the world and let someone else see the world through your eyes.