Francisco sits in a medical clinic chair with the optometrists instruments next to him.

Seeing life through a new lens (literally)

Cataracts had nearly made Francisco Perez completely blind, but SVdP's Virginia G. Piper Medical Clinic saved his vision

Francisco Perez struggled with his sight for more than a year. It got to the point where it made it difficult for him to work and drive. His own optometrist said that glasses wouldn't be of any use — the cataracts in both his eyes were just too far gone. They recommended he see another specialist.

"This was financially difficult for me," said Francisco, who is uninsured. "I told a family member about my vision problems, and he recommended St. Vincent de Paul; he told me to seek help there."

That was Francisco's first interaction with the SVdP's Virginia G. Piper Medical Clinic, which quickly referred him for low-cost cataract surgery at an outside partner clinic. Unfortunately, more trouble seemed to find him.

"I applied for the discount program there, but was then informed that I would be on the waitlist anywhere from a year to four years," Francisco said. "With tears in my eyes, I asked God what to do. I didn’t know how much longer I could go without the surgery. I was having trouble seeing far away and driving became difficult and dangerous." 

After the hard news, Francisco didn't know what to do, so he came back to SVdP. He spoke with one of the clinic's receptionists who said she would see what she could do.

"After waiting for a little while, she came back and told me some things had changed and there was a high probability that I could get the help and surgery through here!" he said. 

Thanks to clinic partnerships and volunteer providers, SVdP is able to offer more than 30 different specialties in the clinic now, including ophthalmology. Francisco quickly enrolled in the surgery program SVdP's clinic told him about and was called shortly after with good news: He was approved.

"June 14th was my first surgery for my right eye, then June 28th, they did surgery on my left eye," he said. "Everything changed so drastically. My vision has improved so much, I can now even go on late walks, I can drive with confidence, I can even see all the staff faces so much clearer." 

Francisco is extremely happy with the outcome of his surgery and said it has significantly improved his life.

"I am thankful to St. Vincent de Paul, the doctors, surgeons, and staff who God put in my life to help me. This is an excellent clinic where they help those in need and I am very happy to have received the help myself.

"Thank you St. Vincent de Paul.”