It’s not lost on Kris Childs that being the owner of an optical shop and suffering through vision loss is a nod to fate. In fact, the very same year Kris opened iiis Optical Shop, she contracted shingles, causing impaired vision and pain in her eyes.
Kris was diagnosed with shingles in her right eye in 1993. As a new business owner, she worked through the discomfort and vision impairment until 2012, when she suddenly lost sight in her right eye.
Even while struggling to see, Kris was able to truly “see” each customer who entered her shop. She never saw glasses as merely a tool to help clients see more clearly but instead as an extension of her clients’ personalities. She prides herself on getting to know each customer, finding out what they do for work, what they love and how they express who they truly are. Only then, does she help them find the unique frames to compliment their lifestyle as well as their personal style. Even while suffering through pain and loss of vision, Kris managed to joyously encourage her customers to boldly express themselves.
Kris sought treatment over the course of several years to ease her symptoms. Even though the discomfort and uncertainty, she was able to stay positive. She focused on having a “mind over matter” attitude, centering her thoughts on the gifts she had and the opportunity to heal her body from within.
A worrier by nature, Kris found peace even as other treatments failed and she faced the possibility of needing a corneal transplant. The support of her daughters and granddaughters inspired her to push forward in the pursuit of restored vision.
After other treatments failed, Kris was connected with Dr. Kristin Bains and received a corneal transplant, fully restoring her eyesight and alleviating the pain she had been living with for more than a decade. Her life was changed forever.
With restored vision, Kris continues to live with unmatched joy and encourages those who enter her shop to do the same. She still sees and pays attention to her customers, helping them to find the eyewear to express their personality, but she now has the added benefit of truly seeing them without impaired vision. She credits this to Dr. Bains and the selfless generosity of a registered eye donor.
“There’s not a day that I’m not respectful to my donor,” Kris remarked. “I keep myself in a joyful place because I have this renewed sense of vision and I don’t wake up scared anymore. That’s enough to give you joy.”
As an expression of her gratitude to her donor, Kris keeps one nail on her right foot painted a different color. It serves as a visual reminder to her that she’s seeing the world because of someone’s generous gift. “I wanted to let them [the donor family] know how honorable I was feeling towards their person,” she explained. “If there is any way that the happy, creative person that I am, can wrap that up in a different way for them, I wanted to be able to give that to them, because they gave something to me.”
See more of Kris’ story here.
Restore sight to others by making a gift to Advancing Sight Network. Visit advacingsight.org/give-financially or mail your check to:
Advancing Sight Network
Attn: Development Office
500 Robert Jemison Road
Birmingham, AL 35209