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Virginia Hess


"Thank God for Dr. Weber. If it hadn’t been for him, I would have been blind years ago. I can’t imagine not being able to see and enjoy life.”


Ever since she was old enough to put crayons to paper, Viginia Krause Hess wanted to be an artist. From a family of artists, including her great-great-grandfather who had taught art to the Kaiser back in Germany, she could not imagine being anything else.

At the age of four, her dreams and those of the entire nation were shaken when the stock market crashed beginning the Great Depression. Her parents, who were both pharmacists, tried to insist that she be more “practical” and follow in their profession, but she persevered and utilized scholarships to pay for her art education, winning her first at the age of eleven.

Today, Virginia, who lives in Dayton, Ohio, has sculptures and paintings all over the country, including at the Smithsonian, the National Football Hall of Fame, and The Ohio State University. In fact, one of her sculpture is on display in Epau Abbey, Le Mans France.

At 60, Virginia had noticed a gradual loss of vision in her right eye and went to her local ophthalmologist. She was diagnosed with low tension glaucoma, a chronic condition which causes peripheral vision loss.

Her case was a difficult one and for the next six years she saw many specialists from the Mayo Clinic to Stanford where she met Dr. Susan Ryu.

“She looked at me and said ‘Well, you really have a bad case of it.’ Almost half of my sight was gone. Then she said, ‘Why are you here? You’ve got the best doctor in the world in Columbus.’”

Dr. Ryu referred Virginia to Dr. Paul Weber at Ohio State. Twenty years later and a medical chart “six-inches thick”, she knows that it was the right decision.

“I had been to many other doctors and they kinda just threw their hands up. They said they couldn’t, weren’t able to control it. Thank God for Dr. Weber. If it hadn’t been for him, I would have been blind years ago. I can’t imagine not being able to see and enjoy life.”

It has not been an easy road with multiple surgeries, eye drops, and new ocular problems, but Dr. Weber was with her every step of the way.

“I’ve never met anyone like him, and not just a person, but of course, a doctor, like him. He is just so generous with his talents and his abilities. He is a marvelous person. He takes the time to explain and you never feel that you were being rushed. He always makes you feel like you are his most important patient. He’s one of a kind.”

Now 86, she still works on her art every day and is grateful for the vision she came so close to losing.

“He is a rare human being and so encouraging, never once did I feel that I couldn’t be helped by him and he was right. He did help me. I don’t know how I could ever thank him.”

One way that she has tried to show her appreciation is through donations to the Department to fund research to end glaucoma.

“I wish I could do more. You think about how many lives you change with any kind of donation. I’m happy to be able to make a difference.”

Learn more about Dr. Paul Weber