"It felt like I was being stabbed in the eye," recalls
Taylor Binns of the agonizing pain that consumed
him. The 23-year-old star rugby player and
Queen's University student saw more than 30
specialists before being diagnosed with limbal
stem cell deficiency, a rare and painful disorder
that damages stem cells in the cornea of the eye.
By the time Taylor met Dr. Allan Slomovic,
Research Director of the Cornea/External Disease
Service at Toronto Western Hospital, he was in constant pain and nearly blind. "I couldn't see
anything on the eye chart" says Taylor. "I didn't even know it was there."
Taylor was the first person to be treated by
Dr. Slomovic and his team in the hospital's
new ocular stem cell transplant program. This
pioneering program is the most comprehensive
of its kind in Canada.
While the transplant can be performed utilizing
tissue from an eye bank, there is a better chance
of success if a sibling donates their stem cells.
Fortunately, Taylor's younger sister Tori, 19, was
a perfect match. "I don't know how Taylor
managed the day-to-day struggle for this long," says Tori, who donated stem cells from her left
eye for the procedure. "He was on every sports
team, the captain of everything. For once, I can
help him out."
The impact of the stem cell transplant was
incredible. In just two weeks Taylor went from
near blindness and crippling pain to reading the
eye chart. He is now able to drive, read street signs
and recognize his friends and family easily. Now
that Taylor is free from constant pain and has his
vision back, he is thinking about getting back into competitive sports and is looking forward to
starting medical school. "It is amazing to be able
to see again," he says.
Click here to read more about how your support makes a difference to vision patients.
Join Dr. Slomovic and Taylor Binns as they share their amazing story at our next Behind-the-Scenes Lecture.
Please click here for event details.