Auburn artist receives the gift of sight

Local News

November is Eye Donation Month. In Alabama, the Advancing Sight Network, formerly known as the Alabama Eye Bank delivers tissue to transplant surgeons and hospitals based on a network of registered donors who’ve decided to allow their organs and tissue to be used after they’re gone. 

An Auburn artist is thankful to the family responsible for the cornea that saved her sight. A freak accident in November 2017 left Kim Garner in darkness, at least in her left eye for a few weeks.  

“The closet was really small that my husband and I shared so I kept my bras and tank tops on binder rings and I went to pull a bra off, it was a Sunday morning, headed to church, it was actually the Sunday after we beat Georgia, so we were heading to church, getting ready, and when I went to yank it off, the whole thing came off and it sliced my eye open from like 12 o’clock to six o’clock,” said Kim Garner.

The pain was unlike anything she’d ever experienced.

“After giving birth to 6 kids, one breach, that was the worst pain. Ever.”

The damage was to her cornea. Dr. Jack Parker of Parker Cornea describes the cornea as  the clear window on the front part of the eye.

“And if that window is cloudy or scratched or damaged for any reason then you don’t see well out of the eye. It’s the same thing as if you have a scratched windshield or broken windshield in your car. If the windshield in  your car isn’t clear, then you can’t see to drive the car, the car is not functional,” said Dr. Jack Parker, Parker Cornea.

Kim had a corneal transplant. It took a series of eight surgeries. She still has the stitches as a precautionary measure and has a protective covering over her cornea. She’s grateful for the family whose loved one will live on as a part of her.

“ Corneas are also a thing where you don’t have to depend on a blood type or a tissue match so it can come from any background or ethnicity.”

Kim is married to Rodney Garner,  the associate head coach and defensive line coach for the Auburn University Tigers Football team. 

After her accident, she started painting abstracts because that sort of describes what she saw after her injury. She’s also started to incorporate football references in some of her art work.

To learn more about becoming an organ donor, click here.

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