During my (A.R.V.) 39-year career, I have had a passion for treating infants and children with cataracts. This passion has led me to operate on thousands of children with congenital lens anomalies and to help start the Adopt Sight program at Raghudeep Eye Hospital. Financial contributions to the program by my colleagues and me as well as by our patients sponsor the care of underprivileged children. Donations are used to provide free consultation services, eyeglasses, contact lenses, surgeries, and follow-up visits. A particular family served by the Adopt Sight program stands out in my mind.
A FAMILY WITHOUT SIGHT
Background. Two young children—a brother and a sister—with a strong family history of congenital cataracts were brought to the hospital by their parents. Both parents had microphthalmia and had undergone congenital cataract surgery themselves. At the time of presentation, the father had practically no useful vision, and the mother was the only member of the family who had any navigational vision. The family’s financial means were limited by the parents’ low functional vision. Both children were diagnosed with microphthalmia and bilateral congenital cataracts. Cataract surgery on both children was planned.
Surgery. Both siblings underwent delayed sequential bilateral cataract surgery within a week of the first eye. The sister’s procedure was performed first.
During surgery on each eye of both patients, an anterior and a posterior capsulorhexis was created, the crystalline lens was removed, and an anterior vitrectomy was performed. After surgery and recovery, the patient underwent multiple examinations under anesthesia to rule out glaucoma and retinal pathology.
All surgery and examinations were performed at no cost to the family through the Adopt Sight program. Moreover, the hospital provided free roundtrip transportation to ensure that the family could attend all follow-up visits.
Outcome. Four years after surgery, both patients’ UCVA is 20/50 OD and 20/40 OS. The icing on the cake is that the children lead their parents by the hand into the hospital. This sight reenergizes me (A.R.V.) to do better for these children and others like them.
The experience shared in this article reminded me (A.R.V.) how privileged I am to be able to make a small but meaningful difference in the lives of my patients. It was a lesson to me not to lose hope, however grim things may appear.