Through complex international collaboration, Israeli doctors from the Western Galilee Hospital- Nahariya where able to restore eye sight to a young woman from the Republic of Georgia with a cornea donation from the United States.

 

Nana, who lost her sight at the age of 10 days due to a severe infection, arrived at the Western Galilee Hospital (WGH) with the support of the Georgian government.

The Ophthalmology department doctors lead by head of the department Dr. Zvi Segal where able to restore her sight through a complicated surgery.

 

Nana was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. At the age of 10 days she became exposed to a severe infection that damaged both of her eyes. As a result of the initial injury and reoccurring infections Nana lost her sight completely. As the years went by, Nana learned how to live with her condition and further more, she was able to graduate with two degrees from university.

 

"I've always found ways to get along in life. I learned Braille and I now teach English in a project of Tbilisi City Hall" Nana says. "After many doctors in Georgia and Russia told me that my cornea was completely damaged and irreparable I started asking doctors from around the world.”

 

Nana’s answer came from Western Galilee Hospital, where despite the many risks and slim chance to restore her sight, doctors attempted a corneal transplant to restore her vision.

 

"The severe injury was evident from the cloudiness in both of Nana’s corneas and batting eyes (Nystagmus), which made it clear to us that the chances for good eyesight where faint. Despite the harsh findings during pre-operative testing, Nana showed that she was able to detect hand movements, and even noticed some of the colors. After much deliberation on everyone’s part, it was decided that we would try and restore her vision. Even if only in part, to allow her to function independently,” said Dr. Zvi Segal, Director of the Department of Ophthalmology of WGH. “After we received the cornea donation from the U.S.A, Dr. Valerie Brsodtzki and I preformed the surgery.  Much to our relief, after the operation, Nana opened her eyes and began to identify objects, colors, and characters. It was an extremely exciting moment when Nana looked in the mirror for the first time and could recognize her own features."
The day following her surgery, Nana woke up and looked at the green fields from her hospital window. She asked if her country had the same colors. She began to understand the sites and figures of her surroundings such as cars and sky. “It was very exciting," said Irina, a friend that accompanied her from Georgia.
Nana's story even reached the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili who helped raise funds for her to receive the complicated surgery.


The corneal transplant is just the first in a series of operations that Nana is scheduled to undergo in the coming months. Because of this procedure’s initial success, doctors expect that Nana's vision will continue to improve.