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Operation Sight Day: Surgeons Assist More Than 100 Utahns Through Charity Cataract Surgery

Craig Chaya, MD, medical director of Moran’s Global Outreach Division, examines a patient during a recent Operation Sight surgery day.
Craig Chaya, MD, medical director of Moran’s Global Outreach Division, right, examines Troy during a recent Operation Sight surgery day.

With his eyesight deteriorating from cataracts, 60-year-old Troy felt he was in danger.

“I’m taking chances every day to do everything I need to do,” he said in June after arriving at the John A. Moran Eye Center for charitable cataract surgery. “You need your eyesight, it’s so important to function.”

Troy says he cried when he got a phone call letting him know surgeons at Moran could restore his sight at no cost thanks to generous program donors who fund the Operation Sight program.

“I’ve been doing odd stuff to make ends meet since the pandemic, and my wife got laid off,” he said. “And then I had a heart attack. The eye center was my only hope. And there are a lot of people in this position.”

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens that impairs vision and leads to blindness. Surgery can correct the problem, but uninsured or underinsured Utahns cannot afford it. Without vision, they lose their ability to work, care for their families, and participate in the community.

“The Moran Eye Center’s Global Outreach Division works to increase access to eye care and save eyesight around the world and also right here at home,” said Craig Chaya, MD, the division’s medical director. “You might not realize that many of our neighbors are living with blindness simply because they can’t afford cataract surgery. It’s our privilege to help, especially during these difficult times.”

Including Troy and other patients from a recent Saturday Operation Sight surgery day, the program has restored vision to 107 people over the past 12 months.

Moran Eye Center doctors identify patients for charitable surgery on a monthly basis as they hold clinics with partnering organizations, including the Fourth Street Clinic, Maliheh Free Clinic, People’s Clinic, Salt Lake City’s Project Homeless Connect, the Refugee and Immigrant Center – Asian Association of Utah, the International Rescue Committee, and the Utah Navajo Health System.

Moran Eye Center outreach work is funded solely by donors.