Super Mom Receives Gift of Sight to Help Family During COVID-19

Dr. Ravi Patel on right and Susanne Lester Headshot on left. Graphic reads "Dr. Patel Performs Pro Bono Surgery for Jacksonville Mom"

Jacksonville mom Susanne Lester was given a pro bono cataract surgery from Dr. Ravi Patel of Florida Eye Specialists. She shared her story of overcoming many obstacles in her life that included diabetes, which would lead to vision problems

Susanne is a super mom. Her family relies on her to drive them everywhere, and she does so without question. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she would take her husband to work, her son to his special ed classes at school, and her daughter, who suffered from leukemia, for her treatments.

All available income went to her daughter’s treatment. However, it was during this time that Susanne also discovered her cataracts. “My vision was poor but I had to drive. I couldn’t see from far away and I struggled to read who the mail was from.” Her blood pressure was exponentially higher than normal, but at the time, she didn’t know she had diabetes. This led to blurry vision and an eventual diagnosis of cataracts.

Even though she struggled, she continued to put her daughter’s care before her own. “I never thought about surgery because I was afraid. I also didn’t have the money, because I was taking my daughter for chemo. Everything went to help her. We had to help her, we couldn’t focus on me,” Susanne said.

An additional obstacle was all of her family losing their jobs due to COVID-19 and her husband having an accident where he broke several ribs. 

Despite it all, she found Dr. Patel and Florida Eye Specialists who made her feel comfortable and confident that the cataract surgery would be successful. “The team at Florida Eye Specialists went out of their way to be kind to me and make sure I was taken care of. They made me feel relieved,” she said.

They renewed her hope for her future by restoring her left eye’s vision to a crystal clear 20/20. She said, “Life has been so hard for us the past couple of years, and to have something so wonderful happen, I’m so grateful… They’ve given me back part of my life that I didn’t think I would have again.”