Seeing clearly

A daughter hugs her mother

Londyn can’t wait to see the stars. At 10 years of age, she has lived with cataracts her entire life

The congenital eye disorder severely clouds her vision, making it impossible for her to see clearly. In a few weeks, she will have her second surgery – and it all will change.

“When her eyes heal after surgery, we’re going to pack up the family and go stargazing,” says Tiffany, Londyn’s mom. “It’s what she’s always wanted to do.”

Londyn’s not alone.

She is one of four children in her family who have had cataracts. Her brother Ben, now 21, was diagnosed at 10 months old; her sister Karyss began receiving care 10 years ago for her cataracts; and her brother Christian was diagnosed later than his siblings and had his surgeries when he was 16 years old.

For the Chatham-based family, this has meant making the three-hour round-trip to St. Joseph’s, multiple times a year for more than a decade for care, surgery and follow-up appointments. Tiffany understands her children’s experience all too well, as she had cataracts in her youth, a condition she inherited from her father.

Tiffany and her family
Tiffany (centre) and her family from (left back) Christian, Karyss, Londyn and from (left front) Spencer and Sean

According to Dr. Sapna Sharan, Londyn, Karyss and Christian’s ophthalmologist, childhood and congenital cataracts are uncommon, with an average of 1 in 10,000 people being diagnosed with the condition in childhood, and 1.7 per 10,000 people inheriting the condition.

Following the surgery, when the lenses in the eyes are replaced, Dr. Sharan says that children need to be monitored closely for complications. But once they become adults, they only require annual visits.

Feeling fortunate for the care her kids have received, Tiffany has nothing but praise for Dr. Sharan and the entire team at St. Joseph’s.

Dr. Sapna Sharan Thank you drawing
Dr. Sapna Sharan has provided care to Londyn and her siblings for more than 10 years.

“She’s just a beautiful human being,” says Tiffany of her children’s ophthalmologist. “She is so good at acknowledging how the kids are feeling at every stage of their care.”

Tiffany is also grateful to have this level of expertise so close by for her kids. Having spent many hours in the waiting room, she’s met other families who have traveled great distances to access world-class care at St. Joseph’s.

“Having the care here is so important – especially with all these little eyes,” says Tiffany.

During the past year, the Foundation has made donor-funded grants totaling more than $341,617 to support critical eye care. This means that equipment such as paediatric ophthalmology visual acuity systems and a wireless binocular indirect ophthalmoscope could be purchased, and the expansion of the urgent and emergency care unit was complete.

Tiffany is grateful to the people who have made their family’s care possible.

“They are giving my kids and so many others sight,” she says. “It’s spectacular.” 

Read more from the 2023-24 Community Impact Report

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