"Thank you for my second chance at life."
As an eight-year-old Lenardo first noticed a problem with his vision.
“The chalkboard was a complete blur to me which made learning very difficult. I would take 10 times longer to read one sentence than my classmates did. So I fell very behind,” recalls Lenardo. “My learning capacity started to decline and as my vision got worse, I had to depend more on my friends, teachers and family to keep up with all my work.”
Unfortunately, his eyesight further deteriorated so severely that he could now barely see.
Lenardo heard about the services offered at the Optometry School in the University of Lurio in Mozambique and immediately went for an eye examination. He was diagnosed with corneal opacity and keratoconus and was referred to an ophthalmology clinic which later sent him to India for a corneal transplant.
He later returned to the clinic to collect his pair of prescribed spectacles.
“This is the finishing touch for me. It’s been a long journey, both physically and emotionally, so to finally be able to see clearly today is amazing. I am so grateful,” he related.
Lenardo says his family are very happy for him.
“Since getting back my vision, I have finally got my independence back too. My parents are a lot more stress free and they are very happy I will be attending university,” he said. “Thank you for my second chance at life.”
The Optometry Program at the University of Lurio has now produced 13 degree qualified optometrists, who are now employed by the Ministry of Health to work in public hospitals. There are another 73 students in the program.
Optometry Giving Sight has provided funding support to the School, in collaboration with the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI), the Mozambique Ministry of Health, the Dublin Institute of Technology and the Irish Embassy in Mozambique.
Photo courtesy BHVI