Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Patients in This Program Get Gift of Sight

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Patients in This Program Get Gift of Sight

Article excerpt

********** CORRECTION December 23, 2000

Judith Cornoyer received a gift of a bus ticket from her brother, Gary Lee Patterson, to participate in the Gift of Sight program. Because of a reporter's error, a story on Page 5 of the Nov. 18 Arlington edition of River City News gave the incorrect spelling of Cornoyer's name, and credited the wrong person with providing her the bus ticket.

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For the better part of five years, Judith Kornoyer struggled with worsening eyesight caused by a cataract spreading across her cornea.

And when her husband, Robert's, emphysema and heart problems forced him to go on permanent disability and them to leave their Westside home for Indiana, Kornoyer, a homemaker with no medical insurance, knew she couldn't afford the costly corrective procedure needed.

Her condition worsened while she was in Indiana, and finally a visit to her ophthalmologist confirmed that not only did she have an eye infection, but she was almost blind as well.

Then one day in September 1999, her best friend, Barbara Canipe, called her from Jacksonville and told her she was sending her a bus ticket to come to Jacksonville and get her eyesight fixed. When Kornoyer questioned how she would pay for the surgery, Canipe told her not to worry -- it was a gift.

Enter the Gift of Sight program.

Kornoyer is one of a growing number of Jacksonville-area residents who have received the treatment they needed through the 8-year-old program, an annual week-long event that pairs local medical personnel with 15 patients in need.

"By the time I finally came in to get the surgery done, the doctor said my cataracts were so bad even he wasn't sure of what the outcome would be," Kornoyer said. "But I had faith in him and the procedure, and now I don't even wear glasses anymore. It's completely changed my life. I would recommend this procedure to anybody."

Through Gift of Sight, physicians, anesthesiologists, nurses and coordinators from Baptist Eye Institute, Baptist Medical Center and Jacksonville Health Care Group donate their time, surgical rooms, supplies and, most importantly, expertise to the pursuit, program officials said. …

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