After cataract surgery, she saw the colors again and jumped with a parachute – June 19, 2022.

After cataract surgery, she saw the colors again and jumped with a parachute – June 19, 2022.

“I couldn’t see the colors properly, I saw everything blurry and blurry.” This is how housewife Solange Oliveira (62) saw her eyesight when cataracts showed the first signs of 2018. From time to time she reported problems to her husband and four children, but only in 2020, when her daughter started working from home due to a pandemic, which is she noticed how often her mother complained.

“She complained that it was difficult for her to see small things and that blurred vision interfered with household chores, she had a harder time cleaning the house, pulling in needles, sewing and ironing clothes. That’s why she had to work slower,” said environmental engineer Talita de Oliveira Souza, 36. .

As the mother does not have a health insurance plan, Talita scheduled an examination with an ophthalmologist through SUS (Unified Health System). The doctor discovered that Solange has cataracts in both eyes and needs surgery.

A public health problem in Brazil and around the world, cataracts are clouding of the lens, a biological lens that exists inside the eye. “This blurring occurs progressively and resembles fogging of car windshields, or cataracts,” explains Rubens Belfort Junior, an ophthalmologist, professor at Unifesp (Federal University of Sao Paulo) and president of the Instituto da Visão.

However, according to an ophthalmologist, almost everyone has cataracts with age. Previous techniques used did not allow surgery before or after, but today cataracts can be operated on at any stage and whenever the quality of vision and living conditions of the patient are disturbed.

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

Delay for SUS and solution

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

Solange Oliveira, 62, with daughter Talita

Image: Personal archive

With a guide in hand, Talita went to the health center to schedule check-ups in March 2020, but was informed that they were not scheduling due to the pandemic. Every day the problem only got worse.

“I had a hard time 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 bothered me, my eyesight was even more blurred. It was no different in the house, I had a hard time reading books, sending messages on my cell phone, and even watching TV, ”Solange recalls.

Concerned about the development of the disease and not knowing when SUS will release the exam scheduling service, the family paid for a private consultation with an ophthalmologist. The doctor found that Solange lost 30% of her vision in her left eye and 15% in her right. The recommendation was to have surgery as soon as possible.

Talita stated the costs of the operation in three clinics and the result was disappointing. “Each eye, except for examinations and consultations, was 4,000 R $ in the cheapest place, and 7,000 R $ in the most expensive. We couldn’t afford it,” says the daughter.

Apparently, Solange was upset by the delay and the possibility that she could not perform the procedure. “I was very worried, sad and scared that I would go completely blind.”

In June 2021, Talita’s fiancé saw the announcement of a video about Vision Central on YouTube. The startup, which specializes in digital health travel, favors access to eye surgery for people without health insurance.

This is happening through a partnership with specialized surgeons who offer free hours in their surgeries and clinics with more affordable and easier payment terms – there are 28 clinics located in nine Brazilian states, which has a total of more than 100 ophthalmologists.

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

Solange reunited with her family on her 60th birthday

Image: Personal archive

Talita contacted the Vision Center and explained her mother’s case. “Only after I was convinced 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 is the price. The total price, including consultations, examinations, surgery and the right to three postoperative visits, it was available and they eased the terms of payment, ”he recalls.

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

Cataracts can only be cured by surgery.

Cataract is the most common cause of blindness, and surgery to correct it is one of the most commonly performed in Brazil and the world. In our country alone, it is estimated that more than 500,000 people need to be operated on because of this condition, informs Belfort Junior, who has a doctorate and a postdoctoral dissertation in ophthalmology and immunology.

“It is a delicate and highly specialized operation. When the cataract is removed, the surgeon puts the intraocular lens in 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 cataract medicine is always surgical. eye drops, pills, gymnastics or lasers that would prevent the problem or delay its development, ”explains the doctor.

Happy and excited about the results of the operation, Solange says the first thing she noticed was how vivid the colors of the TV were. “Then I walked around the house and commented on the things that caught my attention, the flame of the oven was blue, and the set of pans I got from Talita was red. I just realized how bad it was and how much I lost my sight. After I operated. “He says.

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

Solange jumped with a parachute after cataract surgery and observed the landscape

Image: Personal archive

Four months after the procedure, Solange received a call from a health center clerk informing her that the examination guide had been released and that she could continue to schedule an examination and later surgery. As she still needs to operate on her right eye, the housewife would have the opportunity to do it through SUS, but she did not want to.

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

With a fully recovered vision in her left eye, Solange celebrates the fact that she has a better life and shares the experience she had last year: “Talita wanted to give me a parachute jump on my 62nd birthday. I found it so amazing that I was encouraged and I finally jumped before the agreed date. I looked at the landscape with wide eyes, I felt free and fulfilled. “

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