An eye health ambassador’s long journey to restored sight

A woman sits in a clinic setting, smiling at the camera. She wears black eyeglasses.
Written by Elizabeth Roden, Director, Marketing and Communications, published on July 10, 2024 Donate Today

Imagine preparing a meal for family and friends, and nobody eats it because they don’t trust your cooking skills due to your failing eyesight.

Or picture yourself shopping at the local marketplace and wondering if you’re being shortchanged by the vendor because you can’t see the numbers on the coins.

That’s what Sharda, who lives in a village in Uttar Pradesh, India, experienced during her 35 years of near-blindness.

Until recently, Sharda had never seen her grandchildren’s faces.

The grandmother started losing her eyesight after being bitten by a snake – an injury that affected both eyes. During a hospital visit, a health worker told her that they couldn’t do anything to help her, even though Sharda was in a position to pay for eye health services. She travelled all the way to Punjab, where her sister lives, to see if she could get help there, but once again, she was turned away without treatment.

One day, Sharda met a community health volunteer who was going from house to house as part of our project with the C. L. Gupta Eye Institute (CLGEI) in nearby Moradabad. The volunteer quickly assessed Sharda’s eyes and concluded that she had cataracts, and gave her a referral to CLGEI, where she got a formal diagnosis and an appointment for surgery.

After getting both cataracts removed, Sharda was amazed at the dramatic recovery of her vision. She could finally see her grandchildren clearly.

Today, Sharda is back to cooking and shopping, and once again feels loved and valued by her family. With a new lease on life, she tells everyone she knows about the CLGEI vision centre and how staff there helped her regain her sight.

This now-tireless eye health ambassador has her sights set on her next project: her husband. Sharda says she’s taking him to the hospital soon to get his cataracts removed as well.

You too can be an eye health ambassador – please share our website with others or make a donation.