Cleveland jazz vocalist shares priceless impact of restored vision

‘What a gift it is’

Vanessa Rubin’s sight was restored with two cornea transplants.

In the time of COVID-19, where so many things have been taken away from people, Vanessa is extremely grateful to have received the gift of sight that has improved her life greatly.

“I don’t think any of us take eyesight for granted,” says Vanessa. “But it is in that moment when we lose our sight or have trouble with it, we realize how important and critical it is—what a gift it is.”

Almost every aspect of Vanessa’s life was impacted when she had trouble with her vision, many things that she did every day.

As a professional jazz singer, her career depends on having good vision. She has to be able to read her music, write her songs, see her flute and connect with her audience, something that is hard to do if you cannot see them. Vanessa is an accomplished singer and songwriter and wasn’t going to let her vision get in her way.

“My connection to my audience is so important,” says Vanessa. “To see them, to look at them, to make that connection with them, and they also with me is so important when I am singing.”

Vanessa is also a substitute teacher, another profession that heavily relies on sight. She needs to create and deliver lesson plans, write on the whiteboard, and see and interact with her students.

She enjoys going to concerts, seeing movies, shopping, gardening, and going for outdoor walks. Vanessa’s ability to do all of these hobbies was impacted when she was struggling with vision loss.

Not being able to see well makes it difficult to fully enjoy a movie or concert. When shopping it is important to be able to see so you can see what you are shopping for. Any outdoor task, especially gardening and walking, are easier when you can see what you are planting and where, and are able to see all of your surroundings and really take in the scenery.

“I love to walk,” says Vanessa. “I love to commune with nature, so when I’m walking, I’m meditating and taking in all the sights, looking at all the things mother nature has created.”

Daily tasks such as getting dressed, brushing her teeth, combing her hair, and making food were all things that were difficult for Vanessa before her corneal transplants.

“I’m a shopper I love to shop,” says Vanessa. “If I didn’t have my eyesight, I don’t know, maybe I’d save more money, but I love to go in and try on clothes, something that I need my vision for.”

Vanessa received two cornea transplants at the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute—a generous gift made by two donors and their families through Eversight—she is able to fully enjoy all aspects of her life.

“Receiving these corneal transplants have been two of the greatest blessings,” says Vanessa. “It is such a wonderful thing to be able to have my vision back.”

Vanessa is now an active supporter of Eversight in any way that she can. You can also support Eversight by giving a gift, which will help us continue to facilitate the gift of sight to people in need.

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