Chandler – Bilateral Congenital Cataracts

Chandler Headshot

ChandlerCamp2011
Hi my name is Chandler and I am 17 years old! I was born with bilateral congenital cataracts. The cataracts were so dense if they weren’t removed by the age of one, I would’ve been blind. I had my first surgery at 5 days old, and my second one at 12 days. As rare as it is, the cataracts began to grow back! I had a third eye surgery when I was 3 months old to remove those. As a young child, I was sent to vision therapy.

ChandlerDance1stgradelarger

Chandler 1998 Hearth
ChandlerBearWorld
I wore glasses and was patched daily until I was in 6th grade, when I started wearing contacts.. My 8th grade year, I was told I needed glasses over my contacts to correct my vision even further. This was very hard on me, because I just tried out for our school’s dance team and made it. None of the other girls really understood how bad my eyesight was, even after running into the judges table due to lack of depth perception. However, I stuck with it and won my first regional title in February or my freshman year. I went on to win another regional, and even a national title.

ChandlerDrillTeam2011
ChandlerSolo2011
January of my sophomore year of high school, we began looking at getting IOL implants. We were told by three different doctors that i didn’t have the structure in my eye to hold an implant on its own. it would have to sewn in. we travelled to Oklahoma City to see Dr. Cohen at Dean McGee Eye Institute where all our prayers were answered. He performed the three hour life changing surgery. July of that same year, he performed a second surgery on my left eye. Luckily they didn’t have to sew the lens in on this one!

IMG_2058 copy
IMG_1702
Since my sophomore year I have been a member of the Union Varsity Highsteppers and have been a successful competitive dancer. With the Highsteppers, we have earned state and regional titles. I even travelled to New York City to be a part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year, our team went to Nationals in Orlando Florida and placed third.

IMG_1918-1
Recently, I have started expressing my feelings about my vision through writing. I have won several awards through this at the local and state levels. It helps me cope in a positive way. Eventually, I would like to write a book about my experiences as teenager growing up aphakic to help others see that they are not alone. This year I am a senior, and after High School I plan to attend Kilgore College in Kilgore Texas and tryout for the Rangerette dance team. When I grow up I want to be a psychologist for Doctors Without Borders and travel the world to help those in need.

ChandlerMRHighstepper2012
ChandlerSanta.2012
I have always strived to be a good role model for those with the same condition. I like to think of myself as living proof that through determination, you can accomplish your goals, no matter how big.

ChandlerNYC

13 Comments

  • Tracy Goldband says:

    Chandler…..What an awesome young lady you are! My own little girl was also born with Bilateral Cataracts. She is ten years old and as she grows older it is very hard to find other older kids who have gone through their teen years with her same problem. I can not wait until she gets home from school today so I can show her your post.!!!

  • Jessica Duntz says:

    -You are inspirational! Don’t ever stop writing, or dancing! Keep it up girl!!

  • Tanya says:

    Thankyou for your story. My son Maxson had the same thing and has been wearing contacts since he was 5 weeks old. Its great to hear storys like yours. Xoxo

  • Amy Cosgrove says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. My little girl Emma is 4 years old and just had iol. Her cataracts were missed by all the pediatricians until she went blind in the left eye. Your an inspiration. Thanks again for giving us hope.

  • Wilma says:

    Dear Chandler, thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m an Italian mum and like you, my child was born with bilateral cataracts, he went under surgery when he was 2 months old and since then he wears contact lenses to improve sight. Now he is 2 years old and is really an incredible and intelligent child, I wouldn’t change a moment of the last 2 years even if they were really hard for us, but I learned how strong I am and how extraordinary are the resources of a child bearing eyes problems. I am very happy to know of your extraordinary goals in dancing, you are an inspiration for us and I hope that my son will grow up with the same determination and consciousness that he can do in his life whatever he wants. Great hugs from Italy :-)

  • ottica2000 says:

    Thank you for sharing your story

  • Roberta says:

    Dear Chandler,

    I’m delight to know about you, your energy and especially on your life success. I would like to know more about your grows experiences with that. Maybe I can read something of your vision doc written. The reason of this request is due to my daughter she’s affecting on Bilateral cataract and now she’s 6 years old and her eyes can’t host at the moment implanted lenses. She love to dance and I’ve her enrolled to Zumba courses but she’s not able to follow others neither the teacher and often makes different steps.I don’t know how to help her following her dream “Dancing”. Thank you for your help and I wish you all the best on your career life :-)

  • Visual Edge says:

    Yeah!!very nice & important post.I read this story very carefully.Don’t ever stop writing.Thanks a lot for sharing this.

  • Visual Edge says:

    Yeah!!! very nice post.The girl is looking awesome.Se is so much gorgeous.Thanks a lot for sharing this.

  • Yeah!!! what a nice post.The girl is really looking nice.I think your story is so much good.Keep it up.Thanks a lot for sharing your story.

  • erika peguero says:

    Chandler you are amazing and so inspirational.You are absolutely living proof that despite any circumstances in life,you can do all things!You are a shining star!

  • Writing Aid says:

    Wow!! What a beautiful girl.I think your story is so inspiration.I like it so much.Congrats for this.

  • Maria Rojas says:

    Thank You so much for posting my 6month old baby girl was born with bilateral cataracts as was I and it has been a very long month after her surgery but now she is wearing glasses and when I read this story gave me so much hope for my baby girl.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *