Hunter Cornelius had a career with the College of Coastal Georgia men’s golf team. He was a four-year letter with the Mariners, named an All-American by both the NAIA and the Golf Coaches Association of America and was twice named all-conference in the Southern States Athletic Conference. With an amazing career what could possibly go wrong?
Even though Cornelius was having an amazing career, he faced a major challenge. He developed a serious eye infection during his sophomore season that ultimately led him to needing a cornea transplant in his infected left eye. He actually dealt with the issue in the past season.
Cornelius was diagnosed with a very rare eye infection known as Acanthamoeba keratitis. Acanthamoeba are tiny, one-celled animals commonly found in water sources, such as tap water, well water, hot tubs, and soil and sewage systems.
This condition was first diagnosed in 1973, with about 90 percent of cases involving contact lens wearers who likely used their lenses for an overextended period of time or did not properly store their lenses between uses. This infection is so rare that it occurs in about just 15 cases per every million contact lens wearer.
Cornelius visited with two different doctors in Brunswick before coming to see our very own Dr. Ravi Patel. Eventually Dr. Patel preformed a successful transplant surgery in January. His damaged cornea was replaced with on donated by a 6-year-old.
Even with this set back Cornelius was dedicated to playing golf. “It showed Hunter’s true dedication and skill as a golfer, Patel noted. “Most individuals would have an extremely difficult time adapting to depth perception with decreased vision in one eye. It was truly amazing how he continued his level of play.”
What an awesome story! To see the full article about Dr. Ravi Patel and Hunter check out the College of Coastal Georgia’s athletic website!