‘Life begins at 40’, that’s the usual adage spoken with humor when somebody enters the turning-point age that opens the door to ‘midlife crisis’, so to speak. Hence, humor is usually a must-have at this stage. However, it is the same age when the dreaded loss of vision can also start, depending on the person’s lifestyle. The usual culprit is eye cataract.
Eye cataract is reportedly the most common cause of principal blindness in the world and a major cause of vision loss for those aged more than 40 years old. A Department of Health report showed that about 362,000 Filipinos lost vision due to cataract.
Unlike the irreversible glaucoma , eye cataract can still be treated thru surgery.
LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had recently confirmed an increasing number of successful eye cataract surgeries being extended by the Our Lady of Mercy Specialty Hospital in Eroreco, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental to its indigent patients, specifically less-privileged senior citizens.
In an interview, Dr. Jeremias Manuel K. Moscardon, Jr., OLMSH Medical Director, attributed the success to the Lumera surgical microscope and Php 5.8 million worth of surgical supplies donated last year by the LDS Charities and the Mason Eye Institute to the said hospital.
He said, ‘the donation is a big help to more poor patients now that our hospital is about to open a branch in Kabankalan this April, considering our hospital has a large number of such patients. We are honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the donated multi-million-peso worth of surgical equipment and supplies.“
Meanwhile, on January 19, a group of Latter-day Saints met with the hospital representatives to follow-up the results of the said donation.
The group, led by Manila-based Country Director for Welfare Projects Carlos Revillo and Welfare Project Manager George Kenneth Lee, also included Remus Villarete (Stake High Council) and Bacolod Multi-Stake Public Affairs Council members Francis Muñoz, Jeffrey Plaza, Bong Ferrer ,Vanessa Nang and Malu Gacuma while the meeting was facilitated by Multi-Stake Public Affairs Director Belle Georfo and Myles Muñoz.
Later that afternoon, some of the group had witnessed an actual eye cataract surgery under the supervision of known eye surgeon, Dr. Miguel Sarabia, who heads Negros Eye Specialists.
During the operation, we had witnessed how the medical team combined the use of the donated technology with their eye cataract surgery technique inspired by, according to Sarabia, “the Aravind eye hospitals in India.”
It introduced a new approach to the surgical procedure by “scooping out the diseased lens instead of using incision, thus making the Lumera surgical microscope play a more vital role in the meticulous process,” he added.
The patient named Leonora, in her late 40s, had a case of a “stubborn kind of cataract”, as Sarabia described both the hard lens and the soft, fluid-type under it that had to be taken out. The surgery may have lasted for less than 30 minutes, but the life-changing impact on the patient would be for a lifetime.
Sarabia said that with the upgraded equipment, more indigent patients and less-privileged senior citizens even from far-flung areas can now avail of ‘first-class medical service’ despite their financial incapacity.
At this juncture, Lee clarified that, based on Church principle, the donation was done ‘without expecting anything in return, not even in exchange for free consultation for any LDS members. All the patient has to do is to bring his or her Philhealth card and then undergo a screening to qualify for the operation.‘ Lee added that ‘this is consistent with the self-reliance doctrine of our Church.’
Lee’s statement resounded the late President Gordon B.Hinckley who cited the “tremendous statement given by the First Presidency in 1907. They said: ‘Our motives are not selfish; our purposes not petty and earthbound; we contemplate the human race—past, present, and yet to come—as immortal beings, for whose salvation it is our mission to labor; and to this work, broad as eternity and deep as the love of God, we devote ourselves, now and forever.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1907, appendix, “An Address to the World,” p. 16.)
Before we left the hospital , I asked Leonora how she felt. She smiled and said she was very much relieved and excited to fully recuperate, thus having her vision back after 8 long years.
Now she is seeing hope. A stubborn kind of hope.
By: Malu E.Gacuma ( Bacolod 1st Ward)
Social Media Specialist,Bacolod Multi-Stake Public Affairs Council
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
5pm, Friday,January 21,2017