Catrina Sparrow, a St. Augustine mom of 4 and grandma of 3, was thrilled to receive a life-altering glaucoma surgery from Dr. Koike at Florida Eye Specialists.
It all began last Christmas when she started having painful headaches. After losing sight in her left eye, she knew it was only a matter of time until she went completely blind.
Then COVID struck and Sparrow was out of work. She didn’t know how she would ever pay for expensive eye care. But she knew she had to take action.
“The more I waited, the more my sight faded. I could tell, I couldn’t see. I went to Walmart and got an eye exam, and he said I couldn’t come home, that I needed to see a doctor as soon as possible.”
The optometrist sent her to Dr. Kenzo Koike, a glaucoma specialist with Florida Eye Specialists, to address her failing vision. Sparrow said Dr. Koike treated her with honesty and encouragement. “He said, ‘It’s a possibility we can work on saving your right eye.’ I was scared and crying. He told me it’s going to be okay, I’m going to do all I can do to help you. And he did,” Sparrow said.
The surgery was costly and Sparrow knew she couldn’t afford it. But Dr. Koike and the team at Florida Eye Specialists wouldn’t let her lose her sight. They offered to perform the surgery pro bono under the Florida Eye Cares Foundation.
“Dr. Koike told me they were going to help me. Every time I go there I cry when I leave, I just get so emotional, they’re the nicest people I’ve ever met,” she said.
Sparrow is now in recovery after successful glaucoma surgery. She knows it will take time and patience to see once again. But she’s confident that Dr. Koike’s surgery did the trick.
“It means a lot to me, to be able to see. It really does,” she said. “Being able to see is what I really want.”