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Dragulin Cornelia-Elena, 27

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Where are you from?


Where do you live now?

Romania, Constanta (a town by the Black Sea)

Tell us a little about yourself:

I'm Cornelia. I am 27 years old and in my 5th year of medical school. I’m a very empathetic person and I love medicine, which has been my dream since I was 16 years old. I’m passionate about the human brain and psychology. I also like to read and travel.

Dragulin Cornelia-Elena, pink scrubs, wearing a face mask. Vision impairment story, blind eye, one eye,
Dragulin Cornelia-Elena

What’s your eye story?

I had central retinal artery occlusion on the 9th of December 2021, which took almost 90% percent of my vision in my right eye. I was at the hospital during one of my surgical rotations when I suddenly noticed flashes of light in my sight. I instinctually covered my left eye and discovered that I couldn’t see anything out of my right eye, it was BLACK. At that moment, I was terrified and started to cry. I didn’t know what to do, what it meant, or how to react. My colleagues took me immediately to the ophthalmology ward to examine me. No one seemed to wanna talk with me about what I had, or what they saw when they looked into my eye. The next day I found out that I would never regain sight in my right eye, and it was very hard for me to accept. I kept thinking, ‘How could this be happening to me?’. It didn’t feel real like it was all a bad dream or someone else’s life. It made me feel so vulnerable, sad, confused, and angry all at once.

What has been the most challenging thing mentally?

The most challenging thing mentally has been learning acceptance. I was only 26 years old and in good health when I lost my sight. I never thought my life could change so quickly without any warning. Now that I see with only one eye, the thought that something could happen to my good eye haunts me every second of every day. I try to focus on the fact the purpose of fear in my life is to keep me safe.

Sometimes I feel disappointed because this happened to me, and I want someone to give me answers, but I know that the answers will come in time. It was a very scary journey that made me question and doubt everything, but in the end, it made me a stronger person. When In darkness there's always light. Today I follow that light because it is the only thing that I can do.

What has been the most challenging thing physically?

Physically, the most challenging things have been getting used to my new field of vision, the eye strain, and the fact that my distorted vision from my bad eye interferes with my good eye. It creates a lot of flashes, patterns, and kaleidoscope-type vision, which makes it very hard for me to read. My eye is also incredibly light-sensitive. If I’m not wearing sunglasses when I go out into the sunlight, I can barely see anything.

I also developed Posterior Vitreous Detachment, which means that I have a lot of floaters in my vision. This is really difficult because now that I only see with one eye, my brain can’t ignore these little bugs the way it did before.

Where are you now in your recovery?

Since the day of the occlusion, I saw some improvement in my eye in the first 3 months, meaning that my peripheral vision is still there and I see forms and shadows, but my central vision is very affected. I can’t read, I can’t see at a distance outside or even see my face in the mirror. I see a very “scary world” out of my bad eye and I’m thankful that I still have one good eye so that I can still see the world. Now I appreciate everything in my life more than ever because you never know when things will change.

What advice would you give to someone going through their eye impairment journey?

Never give up. You matter. What you are going through matters. What happened to us isn’t by mistake and we will find our purpose. You can inspire so many people with your story and give others the hope they need. This experience made me more aware of my life and what truly matters.

I have lost my sight in one eye, but I have earned a wider perspective on life.

Who is your eye surgeon and ocularist?

My opthalmologist is Ghita Mihai, Doctor in Medical Sciences Bucharest.

How did you find EYEHESIVE?

Very inspiring and I’m glad I get to tell my story

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