Illinois man says restored vision 'like a gift every day'

Illinois man says restored vision 'like a gift every day'
Gift of Sight

Jeff Govednik enjoys doing stand-up comedy in his spare time.

“Some of my comedy just comes out of me being silly with my guitar,” he says. “I’ve been on shows with some of the comedians from Bob and Tom, and I’ve been in shows with some of the comics from the TV show ‘Last Comic Standing.’ I’m decent.”

But for Govednik, kerataconus has been no laughing matter.

Govednik has had to undergo multiple surgeries to treat the condition, which causes the cornea to thin and bulge outward into a conical shape.

“I came to a point where my vision began to deteriorate, and I felt like we were just throwing drugs at it rather than coming up with any real solutions,” Govednik says. “My family doctor was the one who got me to Iowa City.”

In 2019, he underwent a partial thickness corneal transplant with Jennifer Ling, MD, a former professor of ophthalmology at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. He returned for a full-thickness corneal transplant in 2020. Both transplants utilized tissue recovered and processed by Iowa Lions Eye Bank.

“There’s a lot of things I wouldn’t be able to do if not for the transplants,” Govednik says.

One of those things is to help look after his family.

Govednik says there are not enough words to say thank you to his donors.

“I can still see sunsets. I can still see my wife’s smile,” Govednik says. “It’s like a gift every day.”