Why the blind comedian Lee Dong-woo Refused a Retina Transplant

by Knowing Korea

Lee Dong-woo shot to fame as a comedian, but 100 days after his marriage his eyesight began to deteriorate due to a rare disease known as retinitis pigmentosa. Before long he had lost his eyesight completely, but rather than allowing himself to fall into despair he continued to work and, unable to return to stage as a comedian, began a new life as a radio DJ.

One day, a 40-year-old man from Cheonan, a city in southern Seoul, offered to donate his corneas to Lee and allow him to regain his eyesight. Lee was in a hurry to visit the donor, but after learning the potential donor was completely paralysed except for his eyes, he refused to accept.

Talking to his pastor, he explained that even though life was hard without his eyesight, he could not possibly accept corneas from a man for who eyesight was all they had left, and that through meeting the man it was already as if he had regained his eyesight as it had opened his eyes to the world.