Cornea Transplant Restores Sight to Fresno Barbershop Owner and Father

 In Stories

Vince Cortez of Fresno, California had 20/20 vision. When he was 18 years old, his eyesight started to deteriorate rapidly and by 22, he was having trouble reading road signs and couldn’t see the ball while golfing or playing softball.

Vince was diagnosed with keratoconous, a condition that causes the corneas to bulge outward. He then began using contact lenses.

As time passed, the lenses didn’t work anymore and his ophthalmologist informed him that a cornea transplant was the best solution to restore his eyesight. Vince received a double cornea transplant and, as a result, his vision improved to 20/40 without contact lenses and 20/20 with them on.

“They used to call me ‘Squints’ in college because I had to squint in order to see anything. It was amazing and life-changing to get my vision back. It felt as if I had super powers,” says Vince.

His gift of sight has also allowed him to pursue a career as a barber, which is his passion. Within one year, he opened two barbershops called ‘DOPE’ in Fresno. He is currently working on opening up a third. This feat wouldn’t have been possible without his cornea transplants. Even though Vince has enjoyed good fortune with his business, he is most proud of being able to coach his son’s baseball teams.

“I registered as an organ and tissue donor so that maybe one day I can give someone the life-changing opportunity I was given,” he says.

You too can make a difference and be hope to others. Register as a donor at the DMV or at DonorNetworkWest.org.