Viewer who lost eye to disease calls 12 for help

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A woman with no resources and no place else to turn calls 12 for help getting an artificial eye.

She has no insurance but wants to look normal when she starts looking for a job again. Her diseased eye was amputated at VCU Medical Center through its indigent care fund.

It's ironic a woman named Iris lost her eye to disease. Now she needs a prosthetic eye. She has Stickler's Syndrome - a genetic disorder with serious problems from vision to hearing and joint abnormalities.

Iris Reilly-Moore tells why a prosthetic eye is so important to her. When disease took Iris's eye and she had it removed, that decision was devastating and there's still a lot of grieving over her amputated right eye.

"Knowing how I look. My family tells me it's ok," said Iris, "but to me, it's not ok (cries). Put yourself in my shoes. How would you feel, right now?"
Iris's best bud these days is her 10-year-old granddaughter Shamia, one of her strongest supporters. Both have seen ravishing effects of Stickler's Syndrome. Iris's mother and 
10-year-old great nephew went blind from it.

"It takes the vitreous fluid from behind the eye and it makes your eye shrink. Your eyeball and itself it just shrinks up. It's not painful now, because it's not there, but at first it was like an eye headache and nauseous, just all day everyday, like you're on a boat all day."

Iris says her eye is gone and knows she must move on and find work, something she's done all her life, but doing so is hard.  She's having trouble getting past people's stares and questions.

"They ask you, 'Oh, something wrong with your eye?', and that question 'Oh Lord. What's wrong with your eye?' 'What happened?' 'What's up with the eye?' That right there will make you crazy," said Iris.

An artificial eye costs about $3,000. She says she's tried everywhere and companies only want cash or insurance. She has neither.

"I don't want to go into an interview and that's the first thing people see is your face, you know, and I don't want to wear a big old patch on my eye, looking like a pirate, and I can't walk around with the eye open. It's nothing but pink tissue. It hurts," said Iris.

I started working the phones, calling various places Monday and Tuesday afternoon. I was able to reach an ocularist who has agreed to examine Iris and give her a prosthetic eye. We're working out the details to arrange that meeting.

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