Shaqeelah Carollisen

The mother of a teenage boy who underwent eye surgery says she would like to meet the family who helped her son see again.

An ecstatic Shaqeelah Carollisen says she never thought her 15-year-old son Riyaaz would get back his eyesight so soon.

The Hanover Park teen, who was born with a condition known as Keratoconus, underwent corneal surgery to his right eye last week Tuesday, after receiving a donated cornea.

He was discharged from the Kingsbury Hospital on the same day and is recovering at home.

Keratoconus is a slow, progressive eye disease in which the normal round eye dome-shaped cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape.

Before his surgery, Riyaaz had already lost 90 percent vision in his right eye.

Patient Riyaaz Carollisen, 15, is getting his vision back after cornea surgery at Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont.

Shaqeelah said on Friday while his vision is still a little hazy, it is improving by the day.

“I am so happy, I don’t even know what to say,” she tells the Daily Voice.

“Even Riyaaz can’t stop smiling from ear to ear despite the pain he is in. He is getting better day by day just like the doctor said he would.

“The 16 stitches will only be removed after a year and his vision is still hazy but he has been going for his check-ups and he seems to be doing well.”

Shaqeelah, a private home carer, says she has not yet had the opportunity to thank the people who helped her son.

“The doctor said the donor was also a young man about the same age as Riyaaz,” she says.

“I don’t know anything else about the (donor’s) family but I would like to meet them. I don’t think my word of thanks will ever be enough but I would like an opportunity to thank them face to face.

“They have really changed my son’s life.”

The family needed R75 000 for the operation because the cornea had to be imported from the United States.

But because the donor was local, the surgery cost R45 000.

The single mother of two now needs to raise R62 000 to repay her employer who paid for Riyaaz’s life-changing surgery, and for an expensive contact lens implant.

“At the time of the surgery, I only managed to raise about R10 100 and my boss paid about R32 000,” she says.

“Riyaaz will also need a contact lens implant on his left eye so his vision in both eyes can be perfect.”

If you would like to assist Shaqeelah, please contact her on 073 0511 519.