‘Like a miracle’: Local residents receive free eye surgery

Free surgery is an annual holiday tradition for local center for sight

SALEM, Va. – Christmas came early for William Arthur on Friday.

“I’m flabbergasted to have this surgery done,” Arthur said.

He got the cataract in his right eye removed for free, courtesy of the Roanoke Valley Center for Sight.

“I do a lot of hands-on work. It gets frustrating if I drop a bolt or something like that, I’m always working on something, and I can’t find it. I have to get somebody else to help me look for it,” Arthur said.

Free surgery is an annual holiday tradition for the center.

“We’ve been able to gather volunteers together, and the companies that we work with have volunteered their goods to provide free cataract surgery for patients who may not have healthcare or have the ability to pay,” ophthalmologist Chad Albright said. “Losing your sight is probably, when you ask patients, the worst thing that they can say as far as their senses that they could lose. Restoring their sight is just very gratifying.”

Arthur wasn’t the only lucky one Friday, though.

“Being able to continue to work. That’s what I’m looking forward to,” said Sherry Lopez.

Lopez also had the cataract in her right eye removed.

“I can’t see in this eye. The other one’s getting bad, too. I’ve got to nip it in the butt," Lopez said.

After surgery, Lopez and Arthur were all smiles.

“A miracle. I didn’t think I was going to be able to see out of (my right eye),” Lopez said.

“Dang. Nobody’s going to be sneaking up on my right side anymore,” Arthur said, laughing.

About 100 people have received free surgery since the holiday tradition began in 2006.