Christmas came early last year for Delaware resident Corey Hedges after two local eye doctors volunteered their services and restored the vision in her right eye to near normal limits from near blindness.

Christmas came early last year for Delaware resident Corey Hedges after two local eye doctors volunteered their services and restored the vision in her right eye to near normal limits from near blindness.

With no insurance, the 40-year-old had just about resigned herself to a life of blindness in one eye when a friend introduced her to Dr. David Zehnder, an optometrist whose Advanced Eyecare Associates office is at 1832 Castleton Way in Delaware. He solicited the expertise of Dr. D. James Schumer - a laser-vision specialist and medical director at Revision Advanced Laser Eye Center, 1080 Polaris Parkway, Columbus - who would perform surgery to replace the lens on Hedges' right eye with a synthetic lens.

Hedges was featured in the Dec. 21 issue of Delaware ThisWeek, prior to her cataract surgery.

The surgery was set for 9 a.m. on Dec. 17, Hedges said. By 9 p.m. that night she was seeing nearly 20/20 in her right eye.

"I could see everything perfectly. ... They are definitely my Santa Clauses this year," she said.

The cataract was "so dense we had no idea what was behind it or what shape the retina was in," said a more-than-pleased Zehnder.
"Not only did it make me feel good that we gave her this present," it's even better the present was her vision, he said.

The two eye doctors are completing paperwork to form a charity so they can accept donations to fund more procedures for those who can't afford them.
"We're going forward with a group (of eye physicians) we're calling the 'Angels of Vision,'" Zehnder said. "Hopefully next year, we'll be able to help more people who need it."

Meanwhile, Hedges is putting together two fundraisers so she can "pay forward" the gift that was given to her.

The first, a scavenger hunt, is set for March 7 at the Red Rock Caf on North Houk Road.

She's organized the event for four years for friends, with the money collected through the $5 registration fee going to the winning team. This year she will solicit prizes and the money will go to Angels of Vision, she said.

The hunt will begin at 1 p.m. Teams of at least two people will be given a list of items around Delaware to find and either pick up or photograph.
For June, she is planning a poker run.

"I want to do whatever I can to pay it forward and see to it that someone else gets a Christmas present of sight next year," Hedges said.