A WOMEN whose sight was saved by a double cornea transplant has backed our call for a change to Scotlands's transplant laws to help others like her.

Marilyn McEwan, 63, suffers from a rare, progressive eye condition which meant she could have gone blind overnight.

Her sight had already started to deteriorate badly by the time she was diagnosed with the condition.

It left her unable to drive, cook or even read a book.

Now she says, "there's nothing I can't do" after being given a double cornea transplant, the only cure for the condition.

Marilyn knows she is one of the lucky ones. There are major shortages of corneas for transplant in the UK – approximately 500 each year.

Marilyn, who is from Clarkston, said: "My sight had started deteriorating but I thought I was just getting older.

"I had to stop driving at night, I was using a magnifying glass to see things.

"My optician spotted something and I was referred to an eye specialist.

"I had never heard of the condition. You read all sorts of things on the internet. The doctors said I could go blind. You try not to think about it."

Marilyn was put straight onto the transplant list and thankfully, despite national shortages, donor corneas were found for both eyes.

Marilyn, who is mum of Andrew, 28, and Heather, 25, had the first transplant in June 2009 and then the second the following year.

She said: "My sight came back straight away but it took a few months to recover.

"Now, there is nothing I can't do. I'm back driving and just enjoying my retirement. I hadn't read a book in quite some time."

Fuchs' dystrophy is an eye disease in which cells lining the inner surface of the cornea – the front widow of the eye – slowly start to die off. The disease usually affects both eyes.

It is slightly more common in women than in men and in some cases can cause patients to go blind in a matter of hours.

If either of your parents has the disease, you have a 50% chance of developing the condition. However, the condition may also occur in persons without a known family history of the disease.

Marilyn, who is on the national organ donor register, has backed our campaign to persuade the Scottish Government to switch to an opt-out transplant system to drive up donation rates. She said: "I agree with it. When you are dead, you are dead. Your organs are no use to you then."

In 2009-2010, 3100 people across the UK had their sight restored by corneas – an increase of 12% on the previous year.

People of all ages can donate eyes and in 2010 60% of eye-only donors were over 70 years old.

The shortage of corneas from younger donors is evident from the increase in the average age of eye donors, which has increased from 64 to 71 in the past five years.

Marilyn's transplant was performed by ophthalmologist and corneal specialist Mr Sathish Srinivasan at Ayr Hospital, the first in Scotland to carry out a new treatment where patients can see in days rather than months.