Mina, an incredibly kind person and mother who lives near La Entrada, had low expectations coming to the VHI clinic yesterday morning. To her credit, the first hours on the first day of a cataracts program can be intimidating. The amount of people moving about the clinic is disorienting for some. Yet Mina’s low expectations came form her past experiences with her eyes; Mina had lost an eye to a health issue in the past, and her remaining eye had experienced degrading vision over time, and the problem did not appear to be cataracts.
Mina, like so many others, patiently waited to be seen by our team. When it was finally her turn, she met Dr. Melinda. The moment Dr. Melinda saw Mina’s eye and empty socket, she knew this day had the possibility to change Mina’s life. Incredibly, just days before Dr. Melinda left for Honduras, she had received a box of prosthetic eyes from a colleague. Never having used prosthetics in a field program before, Dr. Melinda decided to bring the prosthetics for the trip. And it seemed the perfect opportunity had dawned. However, there was problem: the chances of one of the prosthetic eyes being a match in color and size was slim, but still, there was hope.
After a thorough eye examination, Dr. Melinda brought out the prosthetics. Together, both Mina and Dr. Melinda discovered there was such thing as incredible coincidences: one of the prosthetics was a perfect match! Dr. Melinda put in the prosthetic, and took a picture of Mina with her phone. Dr. Melinda showed Mina the picture, and Mina’s expression instantly changed. Her smile now stretched from ear to ear. This was not just a new eye. The prosthetic means no more starring when Mina walks down the street, no more strange looks when conversing with people she has never met, and more importantly it means having the confidence to go about living her life.
Mina did not have cataracts in her other eye, and thus will not need surgery in the coming week. She went home after her visit, smiling and trying to hug every volunteer as she left. In a single day, in just the span of a few hours, her life changed dramatically.
While our program is dedicated to providing as many cataracts surgeries as possible, our volunteers and doctors are equally dedicated to ensuring what can be done is done. And yesterday, our team ensured one woman’s expectations for her visit were not only met, but exceeded.