Dozens of patient grateful for free eye surgery over the holidays
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Antonio Ricardo is on his way for a better view.
He was one of 30 patients who had free cataract surgery early Saturday morning thanks to a charity called Florida Eye Cares.
“I’m sure it will improve my life and I will enjoy it more,” he said.
Dr Akbar Hasan was one of nine doctors volunteering at the Southpoint Surgery Center to perform the surgery which can cost over $ 5,000 per eye.
“Whether it’s cataract surgery, Lasik surgery or corneal transplants, it’s all about giving people back sight and getting back to the things they need and want to do,” said Hasan.
Ricardo is grateful to be one of those who received the gift of sight for the holidays.
The 77-year-old man lost his wife to breast cancer almost 30 years ago while living in the Philippines.
He had to spend most of his savings on medical bills.
“There’s a reason for this that maybe you can’t figure out,” Ricardo said. “So you have to move on. “
After moving to Jacksonville in 2017, Ricardo’s vision kept deteriorating.
Without insurance, Ricardo couldn’t afford cataract surgery.
It cost him the ability to easily do some things he loves, like watching movies and playing tennis.
“With a visual impairment I can’t really enjoy a lot of things,” he said. “I need to get up and come closer just to see the captions.”
That changed on Saturday. Ricardo said he was ready to get back to his passions without any problem. He’s also keen on getting a job, potentially as a researcher or writer.
He expressed his gratitude to the doctors both in person and in a social media post.
“I am really, really grateful and I can’t find enough words to express my gratitude,” Ricardo said.
“We really want to try to help as many people as possible,” Hasan said.
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