Written by Shuhan Wang, MS4

Hey there! Another day of the mission successfully completed! I decided to share just one of the highlights of my day with you all tonight in an effort to catch up on some sleep. I hope you enjoy some photos in the meantime! 

This afternoon, our team had a very special case. A nervous and quiet 16-year-old girl, Maria, came in with what appeared to be a congenital cataract in her right eye. Due to failure of early interventions in life (ideally before age 8, when maximal neuroplasticity could prompt correct visual pathway formation), it is now impossible for us to restore vision in her right eye. However, after our team had discussed the condition with Maria and her parents, we together decided that we would still operate to remove her cataract. Just so that she could live a more normal life, like any other teenage girl. That is, she would be able to smile upon waking up and looking into the mirror each morning without seeing a glaring thick yellowish plaque stuck inside her eye! Just so that she could be seen and treated like a normal young lady. Dr. Sable, our surgical director, took on the task in a heartbeat. Due to years of accumulation of tissue damage, there was significant fibrotic changes that had occurred in Maria’s eye which made the operation much more challenging. Nonetheless, with great patience and dexterous prowess, Dr. Sable was able to cosmetically restore Maria’s right eye to a near natural state. As soon as the case was finished, Dr. Sable took care to ask me to snap a photo of Maria’s new right eye before patching it up so Maria could see immediately post-op how her eye now looked like instead of waiting until tomorrow during patch removal. In the post-recovery room, when Maria was shown the picture of her new right eye, after an initial moment of disbelief, her whole face lit up. She smiled for the first time and exclaimed “Estoy tan feliz!” (“I am so happy!”). The whole team gathered around to congratulate her on how well she did and shared our own joy to see her beautiful smile. Maria’s sister and mother waiting outside came running to her upon discharge and almost bursted into tears when they saw the before and after photos. They hugged us again and again for the great outcome and future outlook for Maria. Looking around the hall, I was met with smiley faces everywhere. It was such a wonderful occasion to witness!