Usha and her son Sanjay live in a small village on the outskirts of Nadi, Fiji. The team from the Pacific Eye Institute in Suva, met with them in June this year while on an outreach. The Foundation were able to perform sight-saving surgery on both of them, thanks to the support of our generous community of donors.
Usha is married with three grown children; her son Sanjay, and two daughters who live nearby. Sanjay is also married with two children aged two and six. The successful outcome of their surgeries meant that The Foundation has been able to change the future of multiple generations in one family.
Usha, 66, noticed problems with her eyesight last year. Both eyes troubled her, but the vision from her right eye was minimal and the diagnosis at her screening was bilateral cataracts.
She had painful headaches and was unable to do a lot of things that she once could do with ease. She couldn’t watch TV and she missed cooking. She would attempt to cook meals for her family and miss the pan, accidentally dropping food to the side of it.
Her family told us she would sometimes cry in frustration.
Usha’s daughter would come over to look after her or take her home to stay with her. The Outreach team’s visit couldn’t have come at a better time for Usha. She wasn’t nervous about the operation at all, she was looking forward to it because her son had already been helped by The Foundation.
The Outreach team were able to perform a successful operation on Usha. When the bandage was removed from her right eye, shapes and people were revealed. Her vision got clearer and clearer and her eye test showed that her sight had significantly improved.
After her eye test, Usha told the team, “I am absolutely so happy”.
Sanjay, 41, used to be a chef in the local resort but lost his job when the pandemic shut down the Fijian borders. No tourists and lockdowns meant there was no work for him. He had managed to get a job helping a plumber, but it had been a hard couple of years for him and his family.
Two months before we met Usha, he had been helping his sister by creating a sun shade at her home. As he hammered the shade into the concrete, a shard of the nail he was using chipped off and went straight into his eye. He was in a lot of pain and worried about his sight. After asking around for a few days, he was told about the Pacific Eye Institute and, a week after the accident, travelled three hours to see Dr Subash.
Dr Subash saw him straight away and after an examination told Sanjay that his eye had suffered major trauma. Because of the time that had passed, there was potential for a less successful outcome. Luckily the skill of Dr Subash meant that Sanjay’s sight was saved. He won't the same quality of vision that he had before, but he can see enough to live his life unhindered.
When we met Sanjay, he was cheerful and animated. He was thankful to Dr Subash and the team at the Pacific Eye Institute, and excited that his mother would soon have her sight restored as well.
Sanjay is applying for jobs as a chef once again now borders have been opened.
Sanjay can now work again, bringing an income into the home. Usha can cook for her family again and doesn’t need round-the-clock care.
The support of our incredible community of supporters has helped to restore sight to two different generations in the same family, changing multiple futures for the better and removing burdens.
But others like them aren't so lucky. The Outreach team will need to return as there are still many more people living with avoidable blindness in Nadi and across the Pacific. We cannot do it without your support. We need your help, to bring back sight to others still sitting in the dark.