Sao’s story

Sao’s cataract blindness was completely treatable – with a simple operation that only takes 20 minutes and can cost as little as $25. 
 
Sao is a proud rural Vietnamese woman who, before she went blind, helped support her family by making grass bed mats. However, cataract blindness meant that she could no longer work, or even walk anywhere by herself. From being fiercely independent, Sao now had to rely on her family completely.



Luckily, Sao’s daughter learnt about eye screenings supported by The Fred Hollows Foundation happening in her community. She hoped there was a chance her mother’s sight could be restored. And it could. Sao was referred to Binh Dinh Eye Hospital, also supported by The Foundation.
 
However, Sao’s family couldn’t afford the transport costs to take her 40km to hospital. So to make sure Sao got her much needed treatment, we arranged for a car to take her from her village to the hospital.
To date in Vietnam, we’ve restored sight to more than 100,000 people, and trained 429 doctors. In turn, they’ve trained more doctors who are performing cataract surgery and restoring sight to many thousands more people just like Sao.
- Gabi Hollows, Founding Director
Dr Nguyen Thanh Triet, who was trained by The Foundation, performed the successful operation on Sao. After just one day, the bandage came off and the delighted Sao could see for the first time in five years.
 
Gabi Hollows, who was visiting Vietnam for The Foundation’s 20th anniversary, was thrilled to witness a beaming Sao take in ‘the sights around her – grandkids, dogs, chooks, crops – and greeted the other villagers who were there to welcome her home. In Gabi’s words, the whole experience ‘was ‘magic’.  
I cannot explain how happy I am. My eye is now so much brighter. I can go to the local art performance. I can go to the pagoda on the mountain. I can again work to help support my daughter.
- Sao
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