Eye practice’s Forest 5K helps restore sight

Citizen-Times | Jake Flannick

Runners take off in a previous Run the Forest 5K. This year’s race is Saturday. (Photo: Courtesy of Asheville Eye Association)

After being diagnosed with an eye disease, Eric Mills waited eight years before undergoing surgery.

While the disease did not immediately begin to seriously affect his cornea — the transparent outer covering of the eye — his vision eventually grew so cloudy that he stopped driving at night and during rainstorms. Artificial light became bothersome.

“It was really affecting my day-to-day life,” Mills, 50, said of the disease, Fuchs’ dystrophy. He noted that his job at the time, as a development director for a nonprofit social services organization, involved its share computer work.

Since receiving a cornea transplant in his right eye about a year ago, his vision has dramatically improved, he said.

And so in a gesture of gratitude, Mills is taking part in a run and walk through Biltmore Forest this weekend that will raise money for LifeShare of the Carolinas — the nonprofit organization that procured Mills’ cornea. The group helps procure organs for transplant and also runs an eye bank. Continue reading