Berilna, under the arm of her grandson, walked in to screening day slowly and cautiously. Her step was slow and precarious. She had serious cataracts with a steady decline in vision over the past few years. She had been reportedly blind from the condition for 2 years. Her family could not convince her to seek treatment, because she feared the surgery would be too costly.
Until the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) visited Philippines in 2012 and provided medical service free of charge, Berlina was finally convinced to seek treatment.
Dr. Shoba, the Volunteer Faculty of ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, says “Berlina had very hard, mature cataracts. The need for surgery was very evident. However, Berlina could not afford a phaco-emulsification procedure, so we chose her as a good teaching case for Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery for this scenario so that local doctors in this region can learn to take out a large, dense cataract through small incision and immediately give her good vision post-operatively. After medical training for local doctors, for those who could not afford surgery fee for a phaco-emulsification procedure can receive a cheaper but effective treatment now.”
Berlina’s case was the first case surgery of this FEH program. Dr. Shoba decided to do the surgery and invited local trainees to learn aboard. She taught each and every step and let them observe closely, and enriched their knowledge and techniques.
Post-operatively, Berlina’s eye was very good. She will be back for cataract surgery on her left eye within 4-6 weeks. A hands-on trainee from this program will be responsible for the surgery and quick recovery is expected.
Throughout these years, these families have serious financial problems and could not seek treatment. More seriously, with the case of Berlina, her daughter had glaucoma too, so she opted to give her daughter surgery and not see for a few years.
After the free surgery provided by ORBIS, Berlina could restore her sight. She would be leading a new life. “I am really happy and excited that I can see my family again. Also, I can now see my garden and my farm and that pleases me very much. I grow squash, radishes, and eggplant. We have mango tree too!” Restoring her sight, Berlina’s life was becoming brighter and more prosperous.