The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Mike Holwill


Cornea transplant recipient

MikeMike was just 15 years old when he started to notice his eye sight suddenly change when he was walking home from school. He describes the lines in the roads as looking like ghosts.

His mother took him to the optician who was unable to diagnose the problem and so he sought out a second opinion, which resulted in him being referred to see an eye specialist. He was diagnosed with Keratoconus, a progressive eye disease which causes the cornea to thin and become misshaped, distorting vision.

Mike tried everything from wearing glasses and soft contact lenses through to hard contact lenses which moved around his eyes and only intensified the scarring on his cornea.

When he was 19 years old and studying at university in Canterbury, Mike received corneal grafting on his left eye, giving sight back to this eye. In 2003, Mike received a second corneal graft in Leeds, this time to his right eye. He can now see partially through his left eye, while the vision his right eye is next to perfect.

Mike now works as a Liver Transplant Coordinator at St James’s University Hospital where he oversees lifechanging transplants taking place every day.

A keen musician, playing both the guitar and the trumpet, Mike has been able to read music, something he spends much of his free time participating in. He is a member of two bands called ‘The White Rose Concert Band’ and ‘Tutt! Community Band’. He also has two children - a son who is following in his footsteps and going to university to study music and a daughter, currently studying for her GCSE’s.