GIFT OF SIGHT
Just as paint fades with time, vision gradually dulls for individuals who develop cataracts. At the age of 51, Jacksonville ophthalmologist Jeff Levenson, M.D personally experienced this effect of cataracts. Dr. Levenson found himself in need of the same operation he has performed almost 20,000 times throughout his 25 year career. When it came time for his own surgery four years ago, Jeff was unafraid as the surgeon’s hand was placed on his forehead and the light beamed into his eyes. “I knew the surgery would clear my sight; what I didn’t know was the extent of my vision loss before surgery.” Although he’d heard his patients talk for years about the vividness of colors after surgery, he was nonetheless shocked as he peered through his new lenses at an explosion of nature’s vivid blues, greens and a full rainbow of colors.
“My personal encounter with cataracts gave me a glimpse into what patients experience when they cannot afford the surgery. Fear deepens as their world darkens a little bit more each day. They gradually lose the ability to read or drive, and they face increasing difficulty caring for themselves and their families. Now, more than ever, I want to be instrumental in erasing that fear by restoring their sight and improving their lives.”
With a passionate commitment to provide free cataract surgery for patients who cannot afford it, Dr. Levenson was instrumental in establishing The Gift of Sight program almost 20 years ago. The program, now administered through Vision Is Priceless and funded in part by Jeff and his wife Ilene, has restored vision for more than 200 underserved, medically indigent First Coast patients. Another 10 – 15 patients will receive the Gift of Sight this year.
“Our goal,” says Jeff, “is to erase blindness due to cataracts for First Coast residents who cannot afford the surgery.”
If you would like to support this important endeavor, you can make a donation directly to the program by visiting one of the links below: