Mercy Ships helps blind patients see - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Mercy Ships helps blind patients see

By Sara Story - bio | email 
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - In parts of the world, eye-care is so scarce that problems often go untreated. Thursday was World Sight Day, aimed at bringing global awareness to blindness and visual impairment. The East Texas organization Mercy Ships is helping the blind to see by offering free eyecare in Africa.

Four-year-old Celina reached up and touched her father's face. Born with cataracts, Celina has lived in the dark her entire life. And, it was the first time she had ever laid eyes on her dad.

"When a child actually sees something for the first time, it is almost like they have just come out of the womb," said Sam Smith, the CEO of Mercy Ships.

Smith says his organization brings life and light back to children like Celina. It's all done by volunteers aboard a 500 foot vessel stationed in Africa.

"The eye surgical theatre has all of the equipment that you would find in the finest hospitals around the world," said Smith.

With nothing more than a little hope, thousands travel miles to receive free health care.

"We check their eyesight and make sure it is a situation that we can address either surgically or sometimes not surgically," explained Smith.

Dr. Glenn Strauss, an Ophthalmologist from Tyler who works on the boat, says Celina's cataracts were removed by a quick and non-invasive surgery.

"It's one of those procedures that can be done in 20 minutes and the improvement in vision is almost instant, in fact a lot of patients it is immediate," said Strauss. "A lot of patients sit up in the operating table and can already see."

When the bandages come off, it's a celebration of sight.

"It is so much fun to see the jubilation because if you think about it we have taken them from a time when they couldn't take care of themselves to now," said Smith. 

It's a task that seems impossible, but for patients like Celine, seeing is believing.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • NewsMore>>

  • John Tyler receives donation for local lawyer to help upgrade helmets

    John Tyler receives donation for local lawyer to help upgrade helmets

    Friday, August 18 2017 11:14 PM EDT2017-08-19 03:14:50 GMT
    KLTV StaffKLTV Staff
    The John Tyler Lions always seem to look sharp in their uniforms. But thanks to East Texas lawyer Keith Miller, the Lions will look better and play safer. Helmets that advertise lowering the impact of hits, and possibly reduce the amount of concussions, come with a hefty price-tag. Miller's donation of 7,500 dollars, will go to help the lions cover that cost. "Keith Miller's been a big sponsor of John Tyler High School football program for years now.  I know it's...More >>
    The John Tyler Lions always seem to look sharp in their uniforms. But thanks to East Texas lawyer Keith Miller, the Lions will look better and play safer. Helmets that advertise lowering the impact of hits, and possibly reduce the amount of concussions, come with a hefty price-tag. Miller's donation of 7,500 dollars, will go to help the lions cover that cost. "Keith Miller's been a big sponsor of John Tyler High School football program for years now.  I know it's...More >>
  • Red Zone Rundown: Kilgore looks to a pair of Bulldogs speed to up offense

    Red Zone Rundown: Kilgore looks to a pair of Bulldogs speed to up offense

    Friday, August 18 2017 11:08 PM EDT2017-08-19 03:08:11 GMT
    KLTV StaffKLTV Staff
    The last time we talked about the Kilgore Bulldogs, quarterback Buddy Jackson and wide receiver Jonathan Shepherd were apart of the 800-meter relay team that won gold at the 2017 state track meet. But today they are back in the pads, and looking to turn their speed into touchdowns.  Competing in District 9-4A, Kilgore has always had a strong run game that helped them become the 2016 District Champs. However, in order to surpass their opponents this season, including Carthag...More >>
    The last time we talked about the Kilgore Bulldogs, quarterback Buddy Jackson and wide receiver Jonathan Shepherd were apart of the 800-meter relay team that won gold at the 2017 state track meet. But today they are back in the pads, and looking to turn their speed into touchdowns.  Competing in District 9-4A, Kilgore has always had a strong run game that helped them become the 2016 District Champs. However, in order to surpass their opponents this season, including Carthag...More >>
  • Arp ISD takes extra precautions after high levels of asbestos reported in city's water

    Arp ISD takes extra precautions after high levels of asbestos reported in city's water

    Friday, August 18 2017 10:43 PM EDT2017-08-19 02:43:21 GMT
    Sample of water taken from sink inside Arp Junior High School. (Source: KLTV News Staff)Sample of water taken from sink inside Arp Junior High School. (Source: KLTV News Staff)

    Holding up a sample of water collected from a sink at the Arp Junior High school, the district’s superintendent says “it looks like lake water.” 

    More >>

    Holding up a sample of water collected from a sink at the Arp Junior High school, the district’s superintendent says “it looks like lake water.” 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly