In 2005, Franklin Warren was watching a basketball game with a few of his friends when he noticed he couldn’t read the score of the game on his TV. Shortly after that, Franklin went to his optometrist who diagnosed him with keratoconus, a condition that occurs when the cornea thins and gradually bulges outward into a cone shape.
Wearing contacts helped his vision some, but a few years later in 2009, Franklin had his first cornea transplant in his left eye. For about ten years, Franklin said he had 20/20 vision in his left eye, and because of this restored vision, Franklin noticed that the vision in his right eye was much worse. In 2022, he had his second cornea transplant in his right eye.
“Once I was diagnosed with my condition and I had contacts, my vision was kind of back to normal,” he said. “Because I had the surgeries so far apart from each other, I had that time where I had one eye that was 20/20 and one eye that was essentially useless.”
Franklin said one of the many things that has changed in his life after having cornea transplants is his depth perception.
“There were so many things on my right side that I just wasn't even aware of because the vision was so blurry over there,” he said.
"For me, that's been the biggest change, I really feel like I'm here more.”
After Franklin had his second transplant, he realized how much having his vision restored improved his quality of life. When he received a recipient packet from Eversight, he wanted to get involved and help impact others with their vision journey as well.
“People who don't have vision issues really don't understand what you're going through,” he said.
For his birthday this year, Franklin hopes to start a fundraiser where he will pledge his birthday to Eversight and raise awareness for the blind and vision-impaired across the globe.
“I let all my friends and family know that I wasn't expecting gifts this year, and that I was going to do a web page to get donations for Eversight to support this,” he said.
Six months after his 2022 transplant, Franklin said he was fitted for scleral lenses to improve his vision even more, officially giving him 20/20 vision in both eyes.
Because of this, Franklin also plans to participate in Golf for Good! The Eversight Vision Classic. This event is an opportunity to golf anytime, anywhere while supporting the gift of sight, and its online auction runs through June 17.
“This season is going to be the first one where I have 20/20 vision in both eyes,” he said. “I'm expecting good things for myself, and I think this is a good time to participate in that event as well.”
In February, Franklin toured the Eversight Center for Vision and Eye Banking Research in Cleveland where he saw a little bit of what goes on behind the curtain.
“It's not just procuring corneas for transplants,” Franklin said. “There's so much more in terms of getting samples for researchers or getting samples to people who are trying to cure diseases that don't have cures yet. It was an awesome experience.”
Franklin hopes his efforts with Eversight will encourage others to get their vision checked because often clear vision is taken for granted.
Want to make a similar impact but not sure where to start?
Create your own campaign online in just three easy steps. You can provide the gift of sight to someone in need by sharing your story and photo and activating your social network to support Eversight’s important work.