After cataract surgery, she saw colors again and parachuted – 06/19/2022

“I couldn’t see the colors properly, I saw everything blurry and cloudy.” That’s how housewife Solange Oliveira, 62, saw her vision when the cataract showed its first signs in 2018. Every now and then she reported the discomfort to her husband and four children, but it was only in 2020, when her daughter started working from home due to the pandemic, which she noticed how her mother often complained.

“She complained that it was difficult to see the small things and that the blurry vision interfered with household chores, she had more difficulty cleaning the house, threading the needle, sewing and ironing clothes. Because of this, she had to do everything slower “, says environmental engineer Talita de Oliveira Souza, 36.

As her mother does not have a health insurance plan, Talita made an appointment with an ophthalmologist for her through the SUS (Unified Health System). The doctor detected that Solange had cataracts in both eyes and that she needed surgery.

A public health problem in Brazil and in the world, cataract is the opacification of the lens, a biological lens that exists inside the eye. “This opacification occurs progressively and resembles a car windshield fogging up, that is, a cataract”, explains Rubens Belfort Junior, ophthalmologist, professor at Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo) and president of the Instituto da Visão.

Still according to the ophthalmologist, almost everyone ends up having cataracts with age. In the past, the techniques used did not allow to operate before or after, but nowadays the cataract can be operated at any stage and whenever it is interfering with the patient’s visual quality and their living conditions.

The initial symptoms of the disease are mild: glare and eye strain at distance and/or near, but as it progresses, the person can get to the point of only seeing figures or noticing whether the light is on or off. “Fortunately, this is reversible vision loss and blindness,” says Belfort Junior.

The delay for SUS and the solution

Solange Oliveira, 62, underwent cataract surgery and returned to see colors - Personal archive - Personal archive

Solange Oliveira, 62, with daughter Talita

Image: Personal archive

With the guide in hand, Talita went to the health post to schedule the exams in March 2020, but was informed that they were not scheduling due to the pandemic. With each day, the problem only got worse.

“I had difficulty walking on the street, I couldn’t see the sidewalks and steps properly, I was afraid of falling. I always liked to walk, but I avoided going out on sunny days because the light got in the way, my vision was even more blurry. it was no different, I had difficulty reading books, texting on my cell phone and even watching TV”, recalls Solange.

Concerned about the evolution of the disease and not knowing when the service for scheduling the exams would be released by the SUS, the family paid for a private consultation with an ophthalmologist. The doctor found that Solange had lost 30% of vision in her left eye and 15% in her right. The recommendation was that she undergo the surgery as soon as possible.

Talita quoted the cost of surgery at three clinics and the result was disappointing. “Each eye, apart from the exams and consultations, was R$ 4,000 in the cheapest place; in the most expensive, it reached R$ 7,000. We couldn’t afford it”, says the daughter.

With no prospects, Solange was distressed by the delay and the possibility of not being able to perform the procedure. “I was very worried, sad and afraid of going completely blind.”

In June 2021, Talita’s fiancé saw the announcement of a video about Vision Central on YouTube. The startup, specialized in digital health journey, favors the access of people without medical insurance to eye surgeries.

This occurs through partnerships with specialized surgeons who offer vacant hours in their offices and clinics with more accessible and easier payment conditions — there are 28 clinics distributed across nine Brazilian states, totaling more than 100 ophthalmologist surgeons.

Solange Oliveira, 62, underwent cataract surgery and returned to see colors - Personal archive - Personal archive

Solange reunited with family on her 60th birthday

Image: Personal archive

Talita contacted the Vision Center and explained her mother’s case. “Only after making sure that it was a serious and reliable company, I made an appointment at the clinic they recommended. The service was good and the best part was the price. The total price, including consultation, exams, surgery and the right to three postoperative visits, it was accessible and they facilitated the payment terms”, he recalls.

Talita, her father and brothers shared and paid for the left eye surgery for her mother, which was performed on August 24, 2021, 1 year and 5 months after she received the surgical indication.

Cataracts can only be cured with surgery.

Cataract is the most frequent cause of blindness and the surgery for its correction is one of the most performed in Brazil and in the world. In our country alone, it is estimated that there are more than 500,000 people to be operated on for this condition, informs Belfort Junior, who has a doctorate and postdoctoral degree in ophthalmology and immunology.

“It’s a delicate and highly specialized surgery. Once the cataract is removed, the surgeon puts an intraocular lens in its place, restoring vision. During the procedure, the doctor also tries to correct the degree of the eye to avoid wearing glasses. It should be noted that the cure for cataracts is always surgical, there are no eye drops, pills, gymnastics or lasers to prevent the problem or delay its development”, explains the doctor.

Happy and excited about the result of the surgery, Solange says the first thing she noticed was how vivid the TV’s colors were. “Then I walked around the house and commented on the things that caught my attention, the stove flame was blue, and the pan set I had won from Talita was red. I only realized how bad it was and how much I had lost my sight after I operated”, he says.

Solange Oliveira, 62, underwent cataract surgery and returned to see colors - Personal archive - Personal archive

Solange parachuted after having cataract surgery and contemplated the landscape

Image: Personal archive

Four months after the procedure, Solange received a call from an attendant at the health center informing her that the exam guide had been released and that she could proceed to schedule the exams and, later, the surgery. As she still needs to operate on her right eye, the housewife would have the option of doing it through the SUS, but she didn’t want to.

“I will continue the treatment at the clinic affiliated with Central da Visão. I was treated very well by the team, I am grateful that they helped me to see again. My husband and children are finishing paying for the first surgery, I will operate on my right eye in June this year. I’m anxious and looking forward to it”, says the housewife.

With the vision in her left eye completely recovered, Solange celebrates the fact that she has a better quality of life and shares an experience she had last year: “Talita was going to give me a parachute jump on my 62nd birthday. place, I found it so incredible that I took courage and ended up jumping before the agreed date. I contemplated the landscape with wide eyes, I felt free and fulfilled”.

About Jenni Smith

She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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