“I kept asking if this is real or a dream… It’s an unimaginable feeling that I can see!”
To earn a living Anna harvests fresh fruits and vegetables from her home garden. She grows tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and beans and has a few chickens that lay eggs. She sells this bounty from her home for her personal income and uses the remainder to cook for herself. Anna’s husband passed away years ago and she doesn’t have any children so she has only herself to rely on for income.
Anna has had diabetes for four years and it has recently started to affect her sight. Her inability to see has made it increasingly difficult for Anna to tend to her garden. Her primary source of income is from her small vineyard, however, she can no longer see her grapes through the vines and must ask others for help.
“I simply could not see and it would affect me emotionally,” Anna said. “It feels as if I’m looking through a white cloud.”
Local doctors from Anna’s hometown of Armavir told her that she had a severe cataract as a side effect of her diabetes. The only way to save her sight was to have the lens in her eye replaced, but there was no way Anna could afford the cost of the procedure.
“The price of the surgery was equivalent to my total annual income,” Anna said. “I didn’t have the funds for such a surgery… and without surgery I would remain blind.”
Fortunately, Anna learned about the Armenian EyeCare Project and our Mobile Eye Hospital, which travels throughout Armenia to offer eye care services to the country’s most vulnerable population at no cost – those who cannot afford the cost of treatment or the money to travel to Armenia’s capital for care.
The Mobile Eye Hospital is a “hospital on wheels” and performs eye screenings as well as cataract and other surgeries. With an operating room, laser treatment room and two examination rooms, the Mobile Eye Hospital has been very effective treating those in need. It has helped screen more than 400,000 patients and perform over 20,000 surgeries.
Recently, Anna became a patient aboard the Mobile Eye Hospital. Her cataract surgery was a success and once again she was able to see.
“After the surgery it felt like a dream,” Anna says. “I couldn’t believe that I could see the letters on the wall. I kept asking if this is real or a dream.”
With her newly restored sight, Anna can return to her work harvesting fruits and vegetables in her garden. She is relieved she can rely on herself to make a living once again.
“I’m happy that I don’t have to ask others for help,” Anna says. “I can see my tomatoes and pick them! I’ve regained my eyesight and my vision has completely recovered. It’s an unimaginable feeling that I can see!”
Anna is also thankful for the “huge act of kindness” that made her restored vision possible.
“They gave me the gift of sight,” she says. “Without the help of the donors, I would still be sitting in the dark. I am extremely grateful.”