Cross-eyes Now Straight

Strabsimus (cross-eyed) patient, Claudine Yigbe, before her surgery.
Strabsimus (cross-eyed) patient, Claudine Yigbe, before her surgery.
Claudine is rolled into the ward after surgery. Her mother, Akouvi, waits with Claudine in recovery.
Claudine is rolled into the ward after surgery. Her mother, Akouvi, waits with Claudine in recovery.
Claudine sits in her mother’s lap, with her newly fixed eyes!
Claudine sits in her mother’s lap, with her newly fixed eyes!

Baby Claudine’s mom waited for her newborn to open her eyes. But nothing happened and the doctors could offer no reason why the baby girl’s eyelids remained closed. Mother Akouvi, thinking perhaps her wee one needed more time, went home from the hospital and waited. And waited.

A week later, Akouvi took Claudine back to the hospital in Togo, West Africa where the doctor put drops in her eyes. Finally, her lids lifted and Claudine took her first look at the world. Unfortunately, her eyes crossed. Her mother knew her little girl would face many challenges because of the strabismus (medical term for crossed eyes - an incorrect alignment of the eyes).

Early treatment of strabismus can help prevent depth perception problems and the development of even more serious visual issues. But medical care is limited in countries like Togo. Akouvi took her baby to doctor after doctor, hospital after hospital. Every time, she heard the same answer: „We cannot help her.“

Akouvi despaired. „I became fed up and exhausted. I decided to stop trying. I thought, ‘Maybe it’s only God that can save her. Maybe God made her like this for a reason.’ I had completely given up.“ Akouvi felt the door had been slammed in her face.

One day Akouvi’s husband received a phone call from a friend, Paul, who worked as a day-volunteer with Mercy Ships. Paul told him that the doctors on the ship performed eye surgeries, and they could help Claudine.

Akouvi took Claudine to a Mercy Ships patient screening, and the precious two-year-old received her appointment card for surgery. The day after the surgery, Claudine could see perfectly out of beautifully aligned eyes.

„Mercy Ships was an answer to my prayers,“ said Akouvi. „We tried every way, and couldn’t get a solution. I know God’s hand was involved with Mercy Ships coming into our lives. I am so grateful.“

Eye surgery

Each year thousands of West Africans can see again thanks to a free life changing operation on the Africa Mercy. Visit our on-board operating theater, our off-ship eye center, eye patients on the Africa Mercy and a "celebration of sight ceremony".

Mercy Ships eye surgery on board the Africa Mercy

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