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You Don’t Need Your Eyes When You’re Dead, But These People Do

The Circle of Light Photo Project is a collection of photographs taken by people whose blindness was cured through eye transplant surgeries. It's possible to replace a diseased cornea with healthy eye tissue from a donor and restore sight... quite literally healing the blind. These stunning pictures are a visual thank you for the donor families and a kick up the butt for any of us who haven’t signed up to donate our organs. 

You Don’t Need Your Eyes When You’re Dead, But These People Do

Photographer: Darnel B., pet Italian greyhound “Dante," Fort Collins, Colorado.
Darnel describes his double cornea transplant as a life-changing event: “Now everything I see doesn’t appear airbrushed like a bad high school yearbook photo!”




Photographer: Lu Xu Ping, family portrait, Lanzhou, China. 
In May 2012 ORBIS International’s Flying Eye Hospital delivered six donated corneas from Colorado to Lanzhou in northwestern China. Lu Xu Ping’s transplant surgery was done in the plane’s state-of-the-art operating room. 


Photographer: Nick Lehnert, Monterey Coast, California.
A childhood accident destroyed Nick’s cornea almost 50 years ago. Cornea transplants can wear out, so he’s had a number of repeat surgeries during his life.


Photographer: Patti Kelly, Air Force Academy chapel grounds, Colorado. Patti had a cornea transplant in her left eye two years ago. “My vision is much better now. Not perfect, but good.” Which is reassuring as she’s a dental hygienist!


Photographer: Athena Spotted Bear, family members at the Crow Fair, Montana.
Athena Spotted Bear has had surgery on both eyes. She still wears glasses and has some stitches in her eyes but says she can now see “perfectly.”


Photographer: Mary Evans, outside a monastery in Romania.
Mary had her cornea transplant two years ago. She remembers taking this photograph while touring a monastery in Romania: “This beautiful rose was perfectly lit to highlight the raindrops and the wonderful variation of color.”


Photographer: Richard Rininger, Cimarron Mountain Range, Colorado.
Richard has suffered from keratoconus for 45 years. The eye disease changes the shape of the cornea, making it difficult to see as the eye bulges out. After his cornea transplants, Richard has 20/20 vision when he wears his contacts.


Photographer: Yang Jia Rui, Lanzhou, China This picture was taken on a disposable camera after Yang Jia Rui recovered from a cornea transplant.


Photographer: Misty Montgomery, Gulf Coast, southeastern U.S.
Misty was diagnosed with acanthamoeba keratitis. It sounds nasty because it is. The condition is caused by a waterborne parasite from wearing contacts. Misty’s surgery went so well, she now volunteers to talk about her transplant experience.


Photographer: Alyssa Tate, Winter Park, Colorado.
Alyssa was already blind in one eye and losing sight in the other when she had eye surgery. She made contact and keeps in touch with the parents of one of her donors. This photograph was taken during a ski trip with the donor family.

























Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less