Tzu Chi Foundation Bohol Operations Office, in partnership with the Ramiro Community Hospital and Bohol Medical Care Institute and in cooperation with the Philippine Gift of Life Foundation, conducted an Eye Surgical Mission at Ramiro Community Hospital, Tagbilaran City from June 10 to 12, 2017. The mission is also supported by the Provincial Government of Bohol, City of Tagbilaran and Rotary Club of Tagbilaran City.
269 patients suffering from pterygium and cataracts were operated for free during the mission. Many volunteers joined the mission, serving as bridged for the patients and doctors.
Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) volunteer ophthalmologists from Manila led by Dr. Antonio Say and Tagbilaran-based ophthalmologist Dr. Oliver Yu performed the surgeries.
The eye surgical mission became the ray of hope for Boholanos who thought they would not be able to see again.
A 75-year-old man from Sierra Bullones, Crispiniano Balaba had cataracts on both eyes. Life had been difficult ever since his vision left. He was compelled to leave his work as a farmer.
“Losing my eye sight is nothing different from being dead because I can’t move and do the things I want to do. I feel so worthless,” he shares.
For so many years that he has been living in darkness, the only thing that Balaba wishes is to see again. Then one day, while listening to the radio, he heard an announcement that Tzu Chi Foundation will conduct free eye surgeries. He immediately went to have his name registered for operation.
“Now that the opportunity to be operated is here. I am so thankful because I thought I was never going to be operated,” he says.
Balaba’s son, Billy, is the one who looks after his father since he was blinded. “My father used to be hot tempered due to his blindness. He easily gets mad if no one listens to what he wants to say. But after the operation, I can see that he has changed. He has a smile on his face and looks more joyful,” Billy shares.
Another patient who finds hope at Tzu Chi’s eye surgical mission is Fortunato Tindoy, 81 years old.
Tindoy lives a simple life in Loon, Bohol. He had cataracts on both eyes and had been mostly blind for nearly two years. Even walking on his own was difficult. He had to leave his work in the farm because of his condition. However, not wanting to be a burden to his wife, he still helped in gardening.
“I have been praying to have my eyesight back. But an operation seemed only a dream,” he says. With their living condition, a costly eye surgery was beyond their means.
When he found out that Tzu Chi Foundation will be conducting a medical mission that offers free eye surgeries, Tindoy grabbed the opportunity to have his condition checked.
“It’s like God finally answered my prayers. I am overjoyed and I thank the Lord that He never neglected me. I am also grateful for the help you have extended to us,” he says.
Endless smiles spread across Ramiro Community Hospital during the three-day mission. For the TIMA ophthalmologists, nurses, Tzu Chi and local volunteers who helped make the mission possible, it was a relief to know that the patients have regained their vision.
“The mission has given them an opportunity to see again which will really change their lives,” says Tzu Chi volunteer Joven Uy.
Eye patients’ blood pressure and blood sugar level are being check to ensure they are fit enough to undergo the surgery. 【Photo by Juvy Ann Radaza】
TIMA Dr. Antonio Say gives his time and expertise to serve the patients suffering from cataract and pterygium. 【Photo by Juvy Ann Radaza】
Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) volunteer ophthalmologists from Manila led by Dr. Antonio Say and Tagbilaran-based ophthalmologist Dr. Oliver Yu work together to ease the patients’ suffering. 【Photo by Juvy Ann Radaza】
Out of gratitude, Crispiniano Balaba adopts a coin bank after his successful cataract removal surgery. 【Photo by Juvy Ann Radaza】
Regem Daig is glad to know that he will be operated and will have his eye sight back. 【Photo by Juvy Ann Radaza】