Saturday, November 24, 2012

Girl, 11, who wrote songs to pay for eye surgery to see again

SINGAPORE - She was crying for almost an hour.

Afraid of going for her eye operation, Adelyn Koh, 11, had to be reassured by her mother, Ms Mary Lim, 39, that it would be alright.

Adelyn, the musical talent who teamed up with Singapore Idol 3 winner Sezairi Sezali for a Mandarin duet for the President's Star Charity in October last year, underwent a complex surgery on her right eye on Wednesday.

In September, The New Paper reported that the girl had composed songs to raise funds for her eye operation, which was expected to cost about $40,000 per eye.

She had composed four songs and put them into a CD for sale.

Adelyn was born with opaque corneas, or Peter's Anomaly, a rare congenital eye disease. She had gone through four unsuccessful corneal transplants before she turned one.

These corneal transplants were natural, but Adelyn's body had rejected them.

Before her latest operation, Adelyn could make out only lights and shadows.

Last year, Ms Lim discovered a procedure called Boston Keratoprosthesis (Boston Kpro).

According to Associate Professor Leonard Ang, 42, the Boston Kpro is an operation which replaces a diseased cornea with a clear, artificial cornea.

Prof Ang, who is the medical director and senior consultant at The Eye & Cornea Transplant Centre, operated on Adelyn.

The surgery took place at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital at 3.30pm. Only Adelyn's right eye was operated upon.

If all goes well, Adelyn will go for an operation on her left.

"The complex eye surgery was successfully completed in 21/2 hours.

"The aim of the operation was to give Adelyn some vision so that she can be more independent in her daily activities and lead a more normal life," said Prof Ang.

Prof Ang also said that the Boston Kpro operation is particularly useful for restoring vision in patients with severe blinding corneal diseases or those with previous failed corneal transplants.

Adelyn, who returned home from hospital yesterday at 1.30pm, will have her first follow-up session today.

The New Paper visited Adelyn and her mother at their home in Punggol on Thursday.

Although she had gone through a major operation under general anaesthesia just 24 hours earlier, Adelyn was very lively.

"Before I went for the op, I was very afraid as I did not know what was going to happen.

"I spent about 40 minutes crying and I was comforted by my mother and nurses," shared Adelyn.


She said she was fearful of being put under because she did not know exactly what it was, so she asked many people about it before her operation.

"I was scared of the feeling that you would get once they gave you the chemicals to make you fall asleep. It was strange," she said.

Ms Lim said that whether Adelyn can have full eyesight remains to be seen.

She said: "I'm not asking for much, I just hope that her condition improves. I hope that the operation would make a difference (to Adelyn's eyesight)."

The girl is using an eye patch on her right eye to prevent her from rubbing it. She needs eye drops every few hours.

Adelyn, who composes classical tunes, has nearly completed her fifth song and is working on her sixth.

The family is selling Adelyn's music CD at $10.

All proceeds go to Adelyn's medical treatment.

Those interested in Adelyn's story can visit

You can e-mail Ms Lim for CD orders at

1 comment:

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