alert icon Coronavirus

Now scheduling COVID-19 vaccines for ages 5+, boosters and third doses
Schedule your appointment
COVID-19 vaccine FAQs

Going to a Cleveland Clinic location?
Nonessential surgeries postponed in Ohio through Dec. 17, 2021
New visitation guidelines
Masks required for patients and visitors (even if you're vaccinated)

Graphic Designer Sees In Color Again

Ten years ago, thirty-eight-year-old Chris Arth was diagnosed with Keratoconus in his left eye during a routine eye exam.

Keratoconus is a debilitating condition where the surface of the eye begins to bulge outward like a cone as a result of the cornea's structure becoming too weak to hold a rounded shape.

At the time of his diagnosis, Chris' symptoms were still mild, so doctors fitted him with contacts in order to minimize complications that might arise. However, over time he began noticing his contacts painfully shifting in his eye or popping out.

As a graphic designer and father, Keratoconus slowly started to affect Chris' life at work and at home. He struggled with decreasing eyesight and ill-fitting contacts for years, until finally he decided to speak with Dr. Allen Roth at Cleveland Clinic's Cole Eye Institute about a corneal transplant.

Chris' surgery took only an hour to complete. A portion of his cornea was removed using scissors and a special instrument called a trephine, which works something like a tiny circular cookie-cutter. This process leaves an opening in the patient's cornea where a similar-sized section of corneal tissue from a donor is placed and fastened with very small stitches.

After the procedure Chris would come in once a month for doctors to remove one or two stitches each session. Slowly but surely over the next year, his eyesight began to improve with each stitch that was removed.

"I liked how Cleveland Clinic spent time with me, talked with me and we were able to get the right fit for the eye. I feel a heck of a lot better. I'm able to play with my kids, I see the detail in my work, and I see the colors better than I've ever seen before."

"I guess I took for granted that green was green, but after the process of surgery I noticed that the green was a more vibrant green and the difference of this red versus that red, or the details of the branches in the trees that you see everyday. This surgery made a big impact on my life [sic]," says Chris.

Chris says that now his life has changed significantly. While he still wears contacts every day, they no longer cause him discomfort and his vision has greatly improved. He credits the Cole Eye and transplant teams at Cleveland Clinic for helping restore his eyesight.

"I liked how Cleveland Clinic spent time with me, talked with me and we were able to get the right fit for the eye," Chris says. "I feel a heck of a lot better. I'm able to play with my kids, I see the detail in my work, and I see the colors better than I've ever seen before [sic]."

Related Institutes: Cole Eye Institute
Patient Stories

Patient Stories

Brad crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon.

Five Months After Aortic Root Aneurysm Surgery, Man Runs the Boston Marathon

Dec 3, 2021

“I hope my story provides some inspiration to others, that you can get back to what you love even after heart surgery. It’s been quite a ride.”
Read Story
Alayna and Nate's mom insisted paramedics take Nate to Cleveland Clinic when he suffered a stroke.

Groom Suffers Stroke At Wedding, Recovers After Surgeons Remove Clots

Nov 30, 2021

“Nothing stands out to me as being a challenge anymore. Physically I don’t have any mobility issues or gait concerns.”
Read Story
Kalil Masri spent 230 days in the hospital from complications related to COVD-19.

Doctor Hospitalized 230 Days From COVID-19 Receives Double-Lung Transplant

Nov 29, 2021

“If a vaccine had been available for me, maybe if I had gotten COVID I would have had milder symptoms and not ended up needing a transplant.”
Read Story
Back to Top