Four-year-old Cristofer Leandro Serrano of
Costa Rica, races across the front lawn on his bicycle, swings his puppy, Bobby, around his neck, and roughhouses with his cousins before settling down quietly with a box of tiny toy animals. The house is filled with his parents, his grandmother and
several doting aunts.
Cristofer Leandro Serrano
Cristofer’s face reflects all the joy of a little boy very much loved and well cared for. His face also reflects the amazing after-effects of oculoplastic surgery.
Just a few months ago, a droopy eyelid (ptosis) obscured most of Cristofer’s left eye, covering most of the pupil.
Not only did the eyelid obstruct Cristofer’s vision and wipe out his depth perception, but his odd appearance sparked teasing by other children and destroyed any budding self-confidence he may have otherwise developed.
When strangers visited his home, Cristofer stayed in the background, hoping no one would see him.
Oculoplastic surgery unavailable in Costa Rica
Six weeks after Cristofer’s birth, his parents, Arelly Joanna Serrano Serrano and Luis Ignacio Leandro Figuera, noticed that their son didn’t open his left eye. Their pediatrician told them that Cristofer’s droopy eyelid could be repaired through oculoplastic surgery, but that the operation wasn’t available in
Costa Rica. Unless Cristofer traveled abroad for the operation — something his father, a farmer, could not afford — he would have to learn to live with the condition.
ORBIS project brings oculoplastic surgery to Costa Rica
On September 1, 2004, ORBIS, supported by Ronald McDonald House Charities, began a three-year project in
Costa Rica that eventually made Cristofer’s surgery possible. The project offered clinical training in a variety of pediatric ophthalmology specialties.
Dr. Maricela Arana of the National Children’s Hospital in
Costa Rica, attended one of these workshops, and in February 2007 she performed the oculoplastic surgery necessary to raise Cristofer’s eyelid.
Now Cristofer is as outgoing and playful as any other boy his age. When he looks in a mirror, he’s no longer sad. And when company comes, he no longer hides. When people look at Cristofer these days, they no longer notice a droopy eyelid and a shy demeanor but instead a sweet, charming smile and a boy full of energy.
You can help
You can help other children like Cristofer receive the surgery they need to see properly and blossom. Your donation can help ORBIS fund adult and pediatric ophthalmology fellowships and training opportunities in developing countries across the world. Please give generously so that others may see.