A mother overcomes her fear of surgery and becomes an eye health champion

Written by Kashinath Bhoosnurmath, President and CEO Donate Today


Jane is so grateful for the help she received thanks to people like you! Now she can see again, and she has hope for a brighter future.

Jane is a 75-year-old widow and mother of four sons.  She lives in Murubara village in Kirinyaga, Kenya, supporting her children through bean and tomato farming.

One day, two community health volunteers (CHVs), Naomi and John, were conducting a door-to-door eye screening in the area. They came knocking on Jane’s door, and as luck would have it, their timing couldn’t have been better. They screened Jane’s eyes and learned she couldn’t see.

Although she had long noticed her failing eyesight, Jane hadn’t given it much importance. After all, she figured her fading eyesight was just a part of getting older.

Despite the CHVs’ advice and referral to seek medical attention at the eye clinic, Jane was reluctant. Sadly, three months later, she lost her sight entirely to cataracts in both her eyes.

She became dependent on her family for everything, and she could no longer see to read the lyrics to hymns at church. Jane was heartbroken.

After my mother lost her sight, it was hard for us because we had to always make sure someone stayed at home to look after her and hold her hand to lead her wherever she wanted to go,” says Jane’s daughter-in-law, Faith.

Desperate for a solution, Jane’s family decided to consult Naomi, one of the community health volunteers who had screened her. Naomi encouraged them to take Jane to seek treatment at our partner, Kerugoya Eye Unit. Naomi assured Jane that it was possible for her to regain her sight through surgery.

Jane was still reluctant at first. She lives with high blood pressure and feared that, because of her age, she might not survive surgery. Naomi counselled her, explaining the nature of the surgery.

Jane finally chose to seek treatment and had surgery on her right eye in November 2018. It was just as Naomi had said – she could see again!

She was overjoyed, saying, “I can now walk on my own, and I can continue singing in my church choir!”

With her sight restored in her right eye, Jane was able to regain her independence and once again do her daily chores on her own. Shortly after, in December 2018, she received surgery on her left eye and, just like that, she had her sight restored in both eyes!

Her family is also grateful. Now they don’t have to worry about their mother.

“We are happy we can now go to work on the farm knowing that mum can take care of herself. It’s so liberating,” says Jane’s son, Daniel.

Jane is so grateful for the work Operation eyesight is doing in her village through our Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Project.

“Many villagers are happy about this project because it has literally opened their eyes,” Jane says. “Many had eye problems, but now they have been treated.”

Jane is now an eye health ambassador in her community, and the  community health volunteers seek her help when they need to encourage a fearful cataract patient to go for treatment.

Jane (right) is so happy now that she’s regained her sight. Here she is with Naomi, the community health volunteer who came to her home.

You’ve made it possible for thousands of women like Jane to receive sight-restoring treatment, but there are still thousands more who need your help. Please make a donation today to and give more women the gift of sight!