A common cataract surgery gone awry darkened John Young's world.
With his sight destroyed and suicidal thoughts creeping in, the Biloxi man turned to a doctor from Tulane University who said he could bring back his vision.
Complications during an intraocular lens implant in 2014 caused Young, 89, to lose almost all of his vision in an instant.
"The world became shadows," he said. "It was a terrifying place to be."
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Young has no immediate family and is used to being on his own. His sudden loss of vision made even the easiest tasks virtually impossible.
"When I was in the grocery store, I would have to wait until someone was near me so I could ask them to put a certain good in my basket," he said. "Walking through my own house seemed like going a through a maze."
Young, an Army veteran, lost almost 20 pounds in the three months after his bulging cornea took away his sight.
"I couldn't get food, much less cook it," he said. "Thoughts of suicide became a real option."
Young persevered for 90 days until a neighbor mentioned the doctors at Tulane. There was a doctor there who traveled the world restoring people's sight.
"I couldn't just sit and live like that," he said. "I went over there to see the man who could restore sight."
Dr. Delmar Caldwell, professor and chair of Tulane's Department of Ophthalmology, met with Young and told the Biloxian he would see again.
"This is a surgery we do often," Caldwell said. "He was as close to being totally blind as you can be."
Caldwell said he was surprised Young managed to survive for three months on his own.
"He couldn't do anything. Him being able to walk down the street to find a grocery store is amazing in itself."
Caldwell has performed this surgery thousands of times throughout the world. He is globally known for his extensive work treating glaucoma and damaged corneas.
A week after Caldwell finished a series of surgeries, Young's sight was improving greatly.
"That man walks on water to me," Young said. "He's a miracle worker."
Young's eyesight isn't 20/20 by any means and he still has therapy to go through, but the world as he once saw it is back.
"You can't imagine how it makes you feel to give a patient that gift," Caldwell said. "Taking away someone's vision is taking away everything they've ever known and loved."
Young said he wanted to do something to show his appreciation for the Tulane doctors.
"I could have sent a card or flowers," he said. "That just wasn't enough."
He decided to leave a large portion of his estate to Tulane's Department of Ophthalmology.
"Since I don't have a family or anything, I figured I should leave what I have with a group I truly appreciated," he said. "It's a token of how much I appreciate them."
Caldwell said the department will use the donation to fund further research for years to come.
"The resources will allow for better training equipment and studies," he said. "I can assure him that Tulane will do great things with it."