Patient Stories

Platini’s story

Platini was born with cataracts that gradually got worse as he got older.

Platini was born with cataracts in both eyes. By the time we met him, they were dense, stealing his sight, his childhood, and his future.

By the age of eight, he could only see as far as one metre away. He could no longer read easily or see the blackboard and was quickly falling behind his classmates.

But this little boy did not need to be blind.

Platini’s parents took him to have his eyes examined at one of our outreaches in the Solomon Islands. The little boy was very shy and timid, sticking close to his mother’s side.

Thanks to supporters like you, we can treat cataracts with a straightforward operation, giving children like Platini a chance at a future.

Platini was admitted to a hospital ward along with two little girls who had vision-threatening eye injuries. He was terrified of having surgery and kept telling his mum he didn’t want to go to hospital. His father was scared too, having left his own eye issues untreated out of fear.

Unlike cataract surgery in adults, children require specialised surgery performed under general anaesthetic. Platini’s surgery was performed by Dr Claude Posala, an ophthalmologist trained at the Pacific Eye Institute in Fiji. Dr Claude is now back in the Solomon Islands, where he provides eye care services at our clinic in Honiara.

In the developing world, serious eye problems in children threaten their prospects in life. There are little to no special resources or adaptive services like we have in New Zealand. Poor vision and blindness in childhood means children can’t fully participate in daily life. This greatly impacts their education, personal development, and future economic productivity.

The day after his surgery, Platini’s parents and the team waited anxiously as the doctor removed his bandage. Platini’s eye was uncomfortable and he tried to scratch it while the nurse cleaned it. But when he could fully open his eye, the transformation was incredible.

Platini did a double-take when he realised he could see his mum’s face.

The little boy began to smile and laugh, exclaiming,

“I can see now!”

He began to stare at his fingers, carefully examining each one.

That precious moment when a child can see his mother again is what your donations can help achieve. Another child or adult will be brought out of their isolating blindness and back into the world of light and colour.

The eye team tested Platini’s vision shortly afterwards and the waiting patients all cheered as he correctly identified symbols on the chart. The moment a person’s sight is restored is always a special one, but the moment a child’s sight is restored is a truly spectacular one.

When children have their sight restored, their lives open up before them. They have the opportunity to be children, to go to school, to enjoy their families, and to be independent.

Without cataract surgery, it would have just been a matter of time until Platini lost his sight completely. It’s only because of the kindness of supporters like you that the lives of Platini and his family are forever changed.

Thank you so much for caring. Together we’re making a difference.

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