"I want Vaishnavi to grow up and study"

Throughout our See The Light Diwali appeal we are shining a light on our work in India, and how your support will help millions of people living with the devastating impact of sight loss across the country. Together, we can help more people like Vaishnavi whose future is brighter thanks to her sight-saving operation.

Vaishnavi, from Bihar in India, is a happy little girl. At home, she likes nothing more than to dig in the ground and help with the gardening. But in 2018 her father, San, noticed something was wrong.

Vaishnavi wasn’t playing as much as she used to, and she would often fall when walking. When she told him she couldn’t see, San noticed something was developing in her right eye.

They visited their village doctor who told them Vaishnavi had a cataract and that with time it would only get worse.

A Long Journey to Treatment

Orbis volunteer, Dr. Donny Suh, screens Vaishnavi at Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital in India

Their doctor didn’t have the ability to treat Vaishnavi’s condition and told them they needed to go to a bigger hospital. The pair travelled 150-kilometres by bus to an Orbis partner hospital, Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital, in India’s Darbhanga state.

At the time a group of our Orbis volunteers were training the hospital’s team at our recently established Children’s Eye Centre. Our Orbis volunteers generously give their time for free and share their skills with eye care professionals in the countries we work in.

As a result, Vaishnavi was screened by Dr. Faiz Ashraf Faizy from the hospital alongside Orbis volunteer, Dr. Donny Suh, who has volunteered with us for over 20 years.

After the screening, the doctors told San that Vaishnavi’s cataract would have been caused by either an injury or an infection, and that they would remove it during surgery the following day.

For San, one of the biggest reasons he wanted Vaishnavi to have surgery as soon as possible was to ensure she receives an education. He told us, “I wanted to get her treatment as soon as possible because she’s so young and I know that when she grows older it might get difficult. I want her to grow up and study.”

Restoring Vaishnavi’s Sight and Smile

Vaishnavi smiling once again after surgery

On the day of her surgery, Vaishnavi wore one of her favourite dresses. And with the guidance of Dr. Suh, Dr. Faizy successfully removed Vaishnavi’s cataract.

With a patch on her eye after surgery, Vaishnavi was bravely smiling again. When the patch was removed, San put his hand over her good eye and asked if she could see through the one that had just been operated on – and she could!

We Need Your Support

There are millions of children across India, like Vaishnavi, whose sight can and should be saved. In fact, India has the highest number of people living with vision loss in the world, with over 335 million people affected. We want to change this, and by supporting our See the Light appeal, together we will. Together, we can continue our sight-saving work across India so children can continue their education, and adults can work and provide for their families.

Support our See The Light Diwali appeal

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