Restored vision gives Isabela new hope and the chance to see her family again.
Isabela is 69 years old and has lived in Gyumri all her life. A few years ago Isabela’s husband passed away and she was living alone. Soon after Isabela’s vision began to deteriorate. She had developed cataracts, a common eye condition that affects 75 percent of people over the age of 65.
“It felt like there were these dark flying birds blocking my sight,” Isabela said. “As time went by, it got much worse. All I could see was light and dark.”
At that time, there was no surgical eye care facility in Gyumri and Isabela didn’t have the financial means to travel to Yerevan to be treated. So Isabela’s daughter decided to move her family to Isabela’s home so they could help care for her mother.
“I wasn’t the only one affected by my blindness,” Isabela said. “I could tell my family was suffering emotionally, but they would hide it from me.”
Isabel’s grandchildren had to change schools and stop attending their beloved music class because it was too far away. Isabela’s daughter would have to spread the butter on her mother’s bread because Isabela couldn’t see well enough to do it herself. As for Isabela, she spent most of her days lying in bed, which affected her mobility and mental health. She had lost all hope.
“I wanted to die and stop being a burden for my children,” Isabela said. “It was extremely difficult.”
Then, Isabela’s family learned that a new, state-of-the-art eye center had recently opened in Gyumri – the John Ohannes Khachigian AECP Regional Eye Center. Isabela went to be seen right away and scheduled her laser surgery.
The night before the surgery, Isabela’s daughter said she was up all night eager to know if her mom would regain her sight. She did. The surgery was a success. Isabela could see!
“This has given me a new life,” Isabela said of her restored sight. “Now I can freely leave the house… I feel like I can fly.”
“I still can’t believe it,” Isabela’s daughter says. “I feel like it’s a dream. My mom is no longer a prisoner. This aid didn’t just help my mother, but all of us… I’m extremely grateful. My mother can see! It’s a new world.”
A new world for Isabela means a life of hope and loving faces looking back at her.
“It had been so long since I had seen your faces,” she said, hugging her grandchildren.
To the AECP and its doctors and donors, she says: “I’m very grateful to all of you for providing this surgery and for giving me a new hope for life.”