Surgeons in Jackson give patients the gift of sight

“These are people who can’t live the quality of life they need, they don’t have insurance, and their vision is terrible because of cataracts. And today they’re going to get their sight back.”
Surgeon Kevin Lavery came up with the idea in 2020.
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 6:48 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The average cataract surgery costs between $1,600 and $2,600 – not a bad price to regain your vision, but not everyone can afford it.

Doctors in Blake Woods Medical Park in Jackson waived the cost for 10 people in need and gave them the gift of sight for free.

“Instead of flying around the world and bringing teams to remote places, let’s do it here,” said Kevin Lavery, M.D.

Lavery came up with the idea back in 2020. Two years later, 10 patients are getting what doctors call ‘The Gift of Sight.’ Lavery said this surgery will change lives for “the truck driver who can’t drive because he’s got his cataracts. Or the woman who can’t work and she’s got all these kids.”

Lavery said some patients needed help getting to surgery from friends, family, or even their boss “because they can’t do their jobs anymore.”

John Ingersoll, from Dewitt Township, is an example. His vision has gotten so bad, he needed help getting to his surgery. His buddy, Dr. Tom Doyle, took him in.

“His vision has gotten very, very poor to the point where he can’t work – he can barely cross the street by himself. He realized that his cataracts were so bad when he walked past his trailer cause he didn’t recognize it,” said Dr. Doyle.

Hearing his cat crying helped John find his way home. He even had to stop working because he could no longer see.

“He’s been threatened with’s just going to make his life so much better. He’s going to be much more self-sufficient,” said Dr. Doyle.

Self-sufficiency is what patient Linda Wolford wants too. She said she can’t wait to “drive at night again” when her vision is restored.

Lenses, instruments, and other supplies were donated for each surgery. The surgeons donated something too – their time and skill.

“I love giving back to the community and I feel like there’s a lot of patients out there who need care and have difficulty getting access,” said Dr. Mahmoud El-Yassir.

Doctors did their follow-up exams on the same day, giving the patients a clear look ahead to the future. All 10 patients will see a lot better likely starting tomorrow.

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