Tuli didn’t give up, either. Instead, she flew to Boston to train under the doctor who invented the Boston KPro, now in his 90s. In this procedure, a donor cornea is sandwiched between a plastic cornea and a titanium ring and attached to the patient’s eye.
“The body doesn’t reject the KPro because it’s made of artificial, inert materials,” Tuli explains.
In March 2013, Wilder underwent this procedure. Her damaged cornea was replaced by a clear artificial cornea, transforming her deep brown iris to a bright blue ring. She could read 20/60 nearly immediately after the operation.
“When I opened my eyes for the first time afterward, it was a moment of awe,” she says. “Even the doctor was surprised by how well I was seeing.”
“Being able to offer her the Boston KPro was so wonderful,” Tuli says. “This has been sort of a miracle for all of us.”
Tuli’s commitment to her patients stems from her deep passion for ophthalmology, allowing her to help change her patients’ lives. She says corneal diseases are more common and debilitating than most realize.
“People like Michelle, who are otherwise very functional members of society but can’t see their children’s faces — it breaks my heart,” she says. “If you look at what people fear most, after dying, it’s losing their vision. The ability to give people their vision back is amazing and I am very thankful for it.”
Wilder says this experience taught her the capacity of her inner strength. When other people may have given up on finding a solution, she and Tuli persevered until the solution presented itself.
“You never know how strong you are until you’re put in a situation like this,” she says.