LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Graduation is the closing of a chapter in many student's life which causes people to look back and reflect on their college experience – and it almost didn't happen for one Cameron graduate, who struggled with a serious eye infection in the last stretch of her education.
Senior Chemistry major Aleigh Peiroo got an eye infection the day before the first day of her fall junior semester. She said she got a terrible pain in her right eye that day, forcing her to skip class and go to the doctor.
"It felt like glass shards were in my eye," Peiroo recalls.
She said she tried not to move her eye because of the pain her infection was causing and saw an optometrist.
"He began rigorous drop schedule, like every 15 minutes I was doing antibiotic steroid drops for inflammation," she said.
Peiroo said she couldn't see out of her right eye because it scarred. Her vision was then cloudy and impossible for her to see.
"It was just kinda frustrating because the pain was gone, but I still wasn't about to see out of it," Peiroo said.
On top of not being able to see, her doctor had not cleared her to start her school year yet. Peiroo said she knew she was getting behind and wanted to go.
"I was kinda on a plan to take the MCAT the next summer, and apply to med school. I really wanted to stay in my classes," Peiroo said.
After a week and a half of worrying whether she'd have to drop out, her optometrist finally told the eager Chemistry major that she could go back to class. Peiroo said her professors were understanding, and she was quickly able to adapt to using just one eye,
"I learned to see a microscope with just my left eye, which is not even my dominant eye," she said. "I learned to do my biochemistry research with just my left eye, and so it took some getting used to, but after a few months, your brain sorta ignores your right eye after a while if you're not using it, and so it wasn't that bad."
Peiroo finished her fall and spring classes with just her left eye. During her junior year, her doctor told her that they weren't seeing improvement and she'd need a corneal transplant.
"I said 'okay, well can I wait until the summer time? Can I finish my classes and go ahead and take the MCAT and then get the transplant' and he said 'yeah, that's fine.'" Peiroo said.
She said it feels amazing to graduate.
"Just to look back and all that God has brought me through and to be able to share what you go through struggles when you go through trials, you can come out the other side and you just really have to persevere and be strong," Peiroo said.
Peiroo said she can see better now, and she was accepted into medical school, so she'll be headed there next. She believes her infection will help her better relate to her patients when she becomes a doctor.
Graduation is on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Cameron Stadium. Cameron alumnus and Comanche County District Judge Emmit Tayloe will be the keynote speaker.