Gena Tew Undergoes Operation to Restore Sight Amid AIDS-Related Blindness

Instagram model Gena Tew has revealed that she has undergone eye surgery, as she battles AIDS-related blindness.

The 27-year-old model, who has more than 520,000 followers on TikTok and a further 57,000 on Instagram, has been documenting her health struggles in a series of social media posts since going public with her diagnosis in March.

In one video clip, which was shared on June 11 and has been viewed more than 12 million times, the social media star showed herself struggling to get up from her bed as her weight plummeted and muscle atrophy weakened her legs.

Late last week, Tew shared that she was on her way to the hospital to have her eye operated on, in the hope that some of her lost eyesight would be restored.

Gena Tew undergoes eye surgery
Instagram model Gena Tew revealed last week that she had undergone eye surgery in a bid to combat her AIDS-related blindness. Gena Tew/TikTok

"I'm not excited at all," said Tew in a TikTok clip as she documented her day ahead of the surgery. "Wish me luck, guys."

After getting her blood work done, Tew revealed that the doctors were going to "put an IV in and then dilate me, so I might not be able to sleep for the whole day."

At one point, she was shown recovering in her hospital bed post-surgery, before revealing that she had been discharged and was home.

"I'm trying to keep my eyes closed, because it hurts when I open them," she explained as one of her eyes was shown to be covered with a gauze. "They ended up doing surgery on both eyes, so don't mind me closing my eyes to talk to you."


EYE SURGERTY update! As you know my lady aha I blind sus to a disease called cmv I hot when getting aids.. I’ll let you know progress soon! #fyp #update #aids #genatew #cmv

♬ Sad and lonely - MoppySound

In a follow-up video, Tew was seen wearing medically-issued glasses as she was driven in a car back to the doctor's office.

"Moment of truth today, guys," she said. "I'm going back to the doctor to get my eye patch taken off to see if I have any vision. Most of you know I was blind in my left eye, like completely. So I just had surgery to get the blood sucked out of it. So let's see if I get any [improved] vision."

After having the patch removed, Tew told her social media followers: "As you see, I can still not open my eye fully, Like I said, I had major surgery on it. I have a little bit—I can see shapes, so it's better than not seeing [anything] at all."

Tew added that she will be "taking this new prescription they're giving me for my eyes. It should get better and progress, because it's still healing. it's still really, really sore."

However, by Sunday, she posted a video on her Instagram Stories, in which she said that she was experiencing continued issues.

"Those of you asking me about my eye, it's still struggling, but it's doing something," she said. "I'm still taking my medicine, y'all. It's going to take a little while."

On one of her posts, Tew had used the hashtag "#CMV," in apparent reference to cytomegalovirus retinitis, which is known to be an ocular complication for people living with AIDS.

Earlier this month, Tew addressed criticism from her detractors, some of whom accused her of using her health issues to boost her profile online.

Tew took to the platform to post a clip emblazoned with the words: "People keep saying clout but I been doing music but I been doing music/modeling [before] I got sick."

Gena Tew documents AIDS battle
On Sunday, Genta Tew told her Instagram followers that her eye was "still trying." On Monday, she revealed that she had returned to see the doctor. Gena Tew/Instagram

She then proceeded to share photos of herself modeling and posing with a host of celebrities that appeared to include Nick Cannon, Taryn Manning, Trey Songz, Dave East, Davido, Jeffree Star, and Diplo.

Also included in her video montage was a screenshot of her having previously been posted on Chris Brown's Instagram account.

Captioning the video, Tew wrote: "How mad did [this] make you??? [I'm] just human... AIDS DIDN'T MAKE ME FAMOUS."

In recent months, Tew has shared a slew of videos on her health journey, including visits to doctors and posts from her home, where she revealed that she had lost sight in one eye and that her weight had dipped to a low of 65 pounds. On Sunday, she revealed that her weight was up to 94 pounds.

Thanks to advanced treatments, Tew has shown videos of herself having gained weight as she recovers from the worst of her health battle.

According to Mayo Clinic, AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, "is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body's ability to fight infection and disease.

"HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also be spread by contact with infected blood and from illicit injection drug use or sharing needles. It can also be spread from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS."

While there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, medications can control the infection and greatly slow its progression.

"Access to better antiviral treatments has dramatically decreased deaths from AIDS worldwide, even in resource-poor countries," Mayo Clinic states.

"Thanks to these life-saving treatments, most people with HIV in the U.S. today don't develop AIDS. Untreated, HIV typically turns into AIDS in about 8 to 10 years."

Gena Tew quizzed on celebrity sex life
Gena Tew went public with her AIDS diagnosis back in March. Gena Tew/Instagram