Mission impossible: Alair’s journey from blindness to sight

Written by Admin, published on August 22, 2017 Donate Today
Alair uses his staff to guide himself as he walks.

For many years, Alair and his wife lived happily together, earning a living to support themselves. Alair, age 70, is a religious leader in his Indian community who helps his fellow villagers through his religious teachings. His wife is a cook at a nearby tea factory.

As Alair got older, he started to experience trouble seeing. At first, he was able to continue his work, but over time his vision continued to deteriorate until he was forced to stop his religious leadership and stay at home.

As you can imagine, he was devastated! The important work he’d been doing for years was taken away from him. What would you do in his place?

Alair tried asking his sons for help, but none of them could afford the cost for the treatment their father needed.

The only choice he had was to be supported by his wife. He felt embarrassed and worried. What could he do?

Then one day an Operation Eyesight community health worker came to their village, going door-to-door screening patients for eye health issues. When she knocked on Alair’s door, she was soon able to diagnose him with cataract in both his eyes.

But at first, he despaired. “I couldn’t afford surgery! I was afraid that even if the health worker referred me to the hospital, I would be turned away because I didn’t have the money.”

Alair’s sons were also afraid for their father. They worried that the surgery might go wrong, and that their father would lose his vision completely.

But our community health worker counseled the family, assuring them that the treatment was necessary and 100 percent free of charge to them.

Alair feeding his cattle.

Still, Alair’s sons weren’t so sure. They turned the health worker away, wanting to protect their father.

Not to be deterred, the community health worker returned the next day with a patient who had received successful eye surgery to speak with Alair.

Alair was reassured. “When I spoke to this man who had the same problem as I had, I knew what I needed to do. My sons still didn’t want me to risk myself, but even with my limited vision I was useless.”

Without telling his sons, Alair stole away to be treated with cataract surgery, taking free transport offered by Operation Eyesight’s partner the Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital.

And that’s when everything changed! After his surgery, Alair could see again!

Alair is so grateful to have his eyesight back that now he’s become an ambassador of sight. He spreads the word about the work people like you have made possible!

He returned to his village, and though his sons were at first angry, when they saw that their father’s vision had been restored, they rejoiced!

Now Alair can see clearly in both his eyes. He’s returned to his work as a religious leader!

“I’m so grateful to have my eyesight back! I thank the hospital and all the people who made this possible for me!”

There are many other men like Alair who need our help – good men with families who are losing their independence to avoidable blindness.

But you can help! No amount is too small – Donate today and restore someone’s quality of life.