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Living With A New Eye

Last May, as part of the Week of Wishes, The Early Show helped fulfill the wish of Karen Andresen of Minnesota City, Minn. Her wish: a prothestic eye, not for her, but for the nurse Erin Latten who has been caring for Andresen's mother-in-law, who suffers from advanced Alzheimer's disease.

Robert R. Barron agreed to make the prosthetic eye, and Michael Hughes agreed to make the ocular piece that fits inside.

Thursday morning, Latten visited The Early Show once more to talk about what her life has been like since she first tried her new eye on.

"I feel pretty darn good," Latten tells co-anchor Rene Syler, "I remember going to my brother's wedding; the first time I had worn it and I was coming down the hallway, and the hallway was kind of dim. I saw a mirror and I said, 'Oh, my, I look kind of normal.' The first time I ever even looked at it and it was beautiful - quite a miracle."

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Over and over, Latten called it "a miracle." Barron describes the procedure as quite complex. "I knew what I could do for her, and I'm filled with gratitude, because I knew I was going to make a difference in her life. She didn't know, but I did know. And I just couldn't wait to see the reaction on her face when she first looked in the mirror."

Latten's sister was the first person in the family to see her with the new eye. Barron recalls that day, "Her sister looked and her sister started crying. Then Erin looked and she started crying. And then I started crying. So we all stood there crying together."

Latten says, "That is all I needed." Her daughter tells the story of Latten going through a buffet line several times because Latten couldn't believe the way people were looking at her.

"It's wonderful," Latten says. "The difference was phenomenal. I didn't have anybody pointing or staring. No one. My sister said she never seen me so giddy before. It was just a relief."

And on the show, Latten took the time to thank Barron, her family and all the people who have supported her throughout this experience.

"I want to thank my whole family for all of their support and I especially need to thank Karen and her sister and husband Frank and their whole family because they are good secret keepers, too," she says.

"It's a great feeling," Barron says. "It's very gratifying to be able to help someone who is in need of my services."

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