Cataract surgery brings back Zhannetta’s ability to see and her desire to sing
For 90 year-old Zhannetta Chilingaryan, life in a nursing home is much different from what it used to be when she was younger. Zhannetta enjoyed an exciting career as a singer in women’s vocal ensemble, performing on many stages and traveling. After Zhannetta got married, although her husband was against her singing career, she knew that stopping what she loved doing most was simply not an option. She continued the music education and subsequently her career in singing. “I’ve had a good life and loved singing,” – Zhannetta says nostalgically, looking through a stack of black and white photos of herself.
Emotions overtake as Zhannetta remembers her late husband and daughter, who passed away at a very young age. “It saddens me to think that I’ve been left all alone,”- she says. “I simply have no one by my side now, and that’s why I’m here, in a nursing home.”
To add to her burdens, over the past few years Zhannetta’s sight started deteriorating and she slowly became blind due to her cataracts. In Armenia, the cost of cataract surgery prevents many elderly patients from receiving this life-changing surgery and the majority are simply forced to suffer from blindness, adjusting their lifestyle to a new reality. “I was blind and couldn’t do anything,”– Zhannetta shares. “Once I even fell on my back while going down the stairs, and I’m still hurting.”
Thankfully, Zhannetta was able to receive cataract surgery aboard the AECP’s Mobile Eye Hospital and, she regained her sight. “When they opened my eye patch and asked me how I was doing, my response was that I could see perfectly well!” – Zhannetta says with a smile. After her successful surgery Zhannetta is happy, thrilled and she is even back to singing! She performs for the residents of the nursing home to bring them joy, peace, and healing.
Since 2003, the AECP’s Mobile Eye Hospital has been traveling throughout Armenia to offer sight-saving eye care services, including cataract surgery, to the many residents living in remote regions in the country. Considered the hallmark of the AECP, the Mobile Eye Hospital – equipped with an up-to-date operating room and two exam rooms – delivers eye care to tens of thousands of Armenians per year who otherwise would not have access to quality eye care. To date, over 500,000 residents of Armenia have been screened on the Mobile Eye Hospital and over 20,000 patients have received major surgeries. The Armenian EyeCare Project is grateful to its generous donors for their dedicated ongoing support that allows offering these life-changing surgeries to the population of Armenia.