Recently, our medical teams had the privilege of caring for José Rosas, a 56-year-old father and husband from the rural village of Canan, Peru. José had lost his sight, and could no longer work or provide for his family. As a result, he was unable to pay his mortgage, and his family was facing possible eviction. He heard about the SEE program in Tarapoto, but was reluctant to go. His friends and neighbors feared going to the city for medical treatment. However, José and his family decided to make the two-hour trek to the clinic, to see if the doctors could do anything to help him.
Once he arrived at the clinic in Tarapoto, SEE’s ophthalmologists examined his eyes and saw that José had complicated cataracts in both of his eyes. José could see a tiny bit of light out of his left eye, but nothing out of his right. The chance to restore any of his vision was slim, as both cataracts were very large, and a car accident had damaged his left eye. However, José had nothing left to lose. He decided to go ahead with the operation, even though he knew he might only be able to see a couple of feet if he was lucky. Thankfully, one of SEE’s best surgeons, Dr. Preeti Shah, from India, was part of the Tarapoto program. All the other ophthalmologists and surgical staff stopped to watch the incredibly delicate surgery, with hope in their hearts. About a half hour later, the operation was over, José’s eye was bandaged, and everyone waited for the next day to arrive when his eye patch would be removed.
The medical staff and José’s family gathered early the next morning to see the results of José’s operation. After a quick examination, Dr. Arevalo, the Peruvian host doctor, raised five fingers and asked Jose how many he was holding up. “Cinco,” José responded correctly! As Dr. Arevalo stepped further and further back, holding up different numbers of fingers, Jose responded correctly each time. The team couldn’t believe it. José then read a sign on the other side of the room, out loud, without hesitation. He could see again, and the results were better than any of the team could have dreamed. Even the doctors were wiping away tears at the miracle that they had just witnessed. José and his family beamed in joy, and showered us with gratitude for restoring his sight.
Now Jose can return to work and provide for his family. His sister Maria has since received her own successful cataract surgery as well. Soon, their friends and neighbors will witness their transformations and be less fearful of receiving the medical care they need.