AFTER nine years of darkness, 68-year-old Dionisia Yagose can see thanks to a team of specialists who removed her eye cataract for free.
Mrs Yagose of Tokou Village on Ovalau could not stop crying as she was overwhelmed at seeing her grandson for the first time.
It was wonderful to see my one-year-old grandson, she said.
I was blind for nine years and I see this as a new lease of life.
Mrs Yagoses blindness was caused by a cataract.
I never thought Id see again. Im very happy and thank God for working through the doctors to make me see.
I was so happy after the surgery I cried and cried.
Her nephew Inoke Vuivuwa, 44, thanked the doctors and nurses for giving his aunt her sight back.
We were so happy and could not believe it when she returned last Friday, he said.
We called all the family and had a feast to celebrate. Mr Vuivuwa said Christmas would be wonderful for them.
This is an early Christmas for everyone. We spent nine years guiding her and now shes walking around on her own.
She knew people by their names and voice only. The day she came out of the hospital she kept asking whos this, whos that, when she met someone.
Pacific Eye Institute director Doctor John Seeto said Mrs Yagoses condition was related to age.
Everyone who reaches that age will suffer from cataract, he said.
She was totally blind, incapacitated. Cataract is one of the main causes of blindness.
Mrs Yagose was among 400 people on Ovalau who benefited from the Fred Hollows Foundation team of ophthalmologists led by Dr John Szetu.
The team was able to restore the eyesight of 40 people.
Foundations executive director Carmel Williams says there is a severe shortage of eyecare professionals in the Pacific which must be remedied in order to reduce blindness. More than 80,000 people are blind in the Pacific Islands.
In Fiji there is a backlog of about 6000 cases needing surgery.
This will continue to grow by about 800 new cases each year, unless we have more eye doctors and nurses available in the country.
Adapted from Fijitimes Online