Theresa’s Story: A Heartwarming Follow-up

The difference between night and day: that’s the best way to describe Theresa’s transformation. Cataracts in both eyes had left her struggling to see and unable to go to school. When Theresa arrived at the Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) in Zambia in 2012, Orbis was working with our partner, Kitwe Eye Hospital, on a training program focused on pediatric eye care.  We all fell in love with Theresa as she responded quietly to our questions. Her charm and warm spirit were infectious, and we were determined to help her. When she attended her appointment after successful surgery on her right eye, Theresa was wearing a beautiful dress and bright red shoes. Smiling from ear to ear, her personality completely opened up.  Theresa recently returned to Kitwe Eye Hospital, where an Orbis-trained surgeon operated on her left eye.  Now 15 years old, she is continuing her studies and has dreams of being a lawyer.

Theresa waited patiently in the waiting room during screening day of Orbis’s 2012 FEH program  in Zambia. While helping her granddaughter study, Theresa’s grandmother noticed how she was starting to hold her school book closer and closer to her face. After already missing two terms of school because of her bilateral cataracts (when the lenses in both eyes are clouded, making it very difficult to see), Theresa’s mother knew she had to do something to help improve her child’s development and quality of life.

In good spirits and trying to be brave, the soon-to-be birthday girl, Theresa, shared her dream of becoming a teacher when she grows up.

Luckily, Orbis Volunteer Faculty Dr. Neely and local ophthalmologist Dr. Mboni chose Theresa’s case for surgery on screening day. Together, they conducted surgery on one of her eyes.

Theresa had a successful surgery on Orbis’s Flying Eye Hospital, and would later return for surgery on her second eye.

Today, Theresa says she wants to be a lawyer. Theresa’s mother could not be more proud of her brave little girl. Overjoyed that her daughter can see, she has noticed a difference in Theresa’s attitude; she is excited to go to school and her personality has opened.


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