A tragic accident at 10 while learning to farm corn alongside his older brother stole Samuel's vision in one eye. His brother's machete accidentally struck him, causing a rare type of traumatic cataract. Blind for nine years, a four-hour journey at 19 led him to us. We cleared the scar tissue, implanted a sulcus lens, and gifted him back the sight he'd lost.
Our youngest patient was Guillermo at age 7 with bilateral congenital cataracts and 20/100 vision. His dad works in the mountains in agriculture. When we entered the operating room he jumped up on the table and then held the anesthesia mask in place while he was put to sleep. While restoring Pedro's vision in both eyes brought immense satisfaction, the true joy came in the form of Nerds Clusters. After explaining his post-op care, Josh (Dr. Dance’s amazing assistant) presented him with a bag, and the pure excitement in Pedro's eyes almost rivaled his newfound sight!.
Dolmar and Kilver
A surgical team led by Dr. Dave Dance recently returned from another mission trip to Guatemala, where they performed surgeries and provided training to local doctors at Hospitalito Atitlan in Santiago Atitlan. Among their patients were two brothers, Dolmar and Kilver, who live in extreme poverty at the bottom of a steep ravine near a river of “agua negra” - sewage. When Dr. Dance offered them a bag of granola for breakfast, he lightheartedly joked about making up for the meal they missed on the day of their surgery. However, he soon realized that missed meals might be a regular occurrence for Dolmar and Kilver. Both brothers were born with congenital cataracts, and one of each of their eyes was treated during last year's mission trip by Dr. Pulin Shah. Vicenta, a social worker at Hospitalito, located the brothers and informed them of the possibility of getting their other eye fixed. With Dr. Dance's team, they were able to finish the work Dr. Shah started and they both left excited to have clear vision restored in both eyes.
Pedro works helping people carry their goods to market…well, worked in the market until 2 years ago he lost vision in his right eye. Then last year lost vision in his only remaining eye. There was pride in his voice as he described his work and sorrow as he described how his vision slowly drifted from shapes, to shadows, to nothing and how he could no longer navigate his town. We took both of his cataracts out during the week. He’s excited to get back to work in a few weeks. He reminds us that we should be grateful every day we get to go to work..
Blanca, a 40-year-old mother of nine, has spent the past year living in a half-lit world. Her youngest child, still nursing, has a face she hasn't seen in over twelve months. An old inflammation left her blind in one eye, and scar tissue had all but sealed shut the pupil of the other. Yet, a sliver of hope remained: she could still tell light from dark. Dr. Jessen, a skilled surgeon with a gentle touch, took on the challenge. He meticulously peeled away the scar tissue, freeing Blanca's iris like a sculptor unveiling a hidden masterpiece. Then, with practiced precision, he removed the cataract and implanted a new lens, restoring the missing piece of her vision. She was absolutely beaming with joy at the prospect of seeing again, our hearts yearned to capture the moment when she saw her baby's face for the first time.