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Restoring Sight to the Blind

Our Vision. Their vision. Our Stories. Their stories.

Two brothers whose father left for the US, reside in poverty at the base of a steep ravine alongside a river filled with "agua negra" (sewage). When one of our surgeons handed them a bag of homemade granola for breakfast, we playfully remarked that we were compensating for the meal they missed on the morning of their surgery. Then it dawned on us that skipping a meal might not be an uncommon occurrence for them. The brothers were born with congenital cataracts in both eyes. Dr. Shah encountered them first just before the COVID pandemic hit in 2019. They waited three years to have their first surgery done.  Dr. Shah performed cataract surgery on the left eye of each boy in 2022.  We then lost track of the brothers for another two years.  Vicenta, a social worker at Hospitalito, located the brothers through a personal visit to their home. They were thrilled when they learned that there was a possibility of getting their other eye treated.

Meet Dolmar and Kilver

To be Grateful

Pedro works helping people carry their goods to market...well, worked in the market until 2 years ago when he lost vision in his right eye. Then last year, he 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, and then to nothing as he struggled to get around town. We took his right cataract out yesterday and fixed his left one today. He's excited to get back to work in a few weeks.

We Should be Grateful Everyday We Get to Work

El Pirata

Antonio, a 26-year-old, had been blind in his right eye for six years after sustaining a penetrating injury in the woods.  When a thorn punctured his cornea and entered his eye, the violation of the anterior capsule exposed lens proteins, leading to a year of intense inflammation before his eye finally calmed down leaving an iris scarred to what appeared to be a white cataract. The surgical plan was to release the scarred iris and remove his cataract, but freeing the iris proved more challenging than anticipated, and opening the capsule even more difficult. After using a combination of instruments and improvised techniques we finally had access to the cataract, but we discovered there was no cataract. It appeared that, following his trauma, the lens had been resorbed leaving a fused anterior and posterior capsule but no lens. With the scar tissue gone, no lens to remove, there was nothing more to do than implant a new lens and close the eye. As we removed the drape, and cleaned his eyelids, we noticed a sly smile on Antonio's face. When asked, he shared that he was smiling because he could see us, the microscope, and the ceiling vent. His smile became a lasting memory. As we placed a patch on his eye, he remarked, "Soy pirata...puro Jack Sparrow" ("I am a pirate...pure Jack Sparrow").


In May, a delightful 4-year-old girl, accompanied by her father, visited our clinic at Hospitalito. Afflicted by infantile cataracts that severely compromised her vision, she was unable to walk independently, relying on her parents for assistance. Isolated from her peers, she lacked normal social interactions with other children. The initial cataract surgery on her right eye in May 2019 resulted in clear vision, while the left eye still retained a white cataract.  Despite having only one functional eye, she experienced a remarkable transformation. With newfound joy, she explored the clinic, interacted with friends, and exhibited the typical behaviors of a 4 year-old. Her transformative journey stands as a poignant testament to the profound impact these missions have on all those involved.  In November 2019, we performed her second surgery and removed the remaining white cataract.

To See the Face of Your Child

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.

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