‘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.' 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 through 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 surgical supplies donated last year by 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 surgical equipment and supplies.”
Meanwhile, on 19 January, a group of Latter-day Saints (LDS) met with hospital representatives to follow-up the results of the said donation.
The group, led by LDS Charities Country Director Carlos Revillo and Welfare Project Manager George Kenneth Lee, were joined by Remus Villarete (Stake High Council), and Bacolod Public Affairs Representatives Francis Muñoz, Jeffrey Plaza, Bong Ferrer, Vanessa Nang, Malu Gacuma-Gancaycohe, Belle Georfo and Myles Muñoz.
Later that afternoon, some of the group witnessed an actual eye cataract surgery under the supervision of Dr. Miguel Sarabia who heads Negros Eye Specialists, Inc. During the operation, they saw how the medical team combined the use of the donated technology with their eye cataract surgery technique inspired by, according to Dr. 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 “stubborn kind of cataract” which Dr. Sarabia described as both the hard lens and the soft fluid-type. The surgery which lasted for less than 30 minutes brought a life-changing impact on the patient.
Dr. Sarabia also 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.
Lee expressed 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 needs to do is to bring his or her Philhealth card and then undergo a screening to qualify for the operation.
Sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDS Charities is an application of the admonition of Jesus Christ to help others in need. Jesus Christ taught His followers to give meat to the hungry and drink to those who thirst. His is a gospel that includes taking in the stranger, loving neighbors as self, and visiting those who are sick or imprisoned. He taught that we are to love and care for each other, visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions, and lift up those whose hands hang down and whose knees are feeble.