By Yanir Dekel
26 -YEAR- OLD NANA BARGWDZA from Georgia (former Russian republic) lost her eyesight when she was only 10 days old and has lived in complete darkness since then. With an international effort and with the help of the Georgian president, she was brought to Israel this week to undergo special surgery that helped her gain her sight back in one eye.
The complicated surgery happened thanks to a donation of a cornea from the United-States, which was implanted in Nana’s inner eye. A second cornea will be implanted in her other eye within the next few months.
Bargwdza, born in T’bilisi, Georgia, and was exposed to a violent virus that caused her to completely lose her eyesight. She had learned to function fully with her disability throughout the years, but never gave up looking for that special miracle that would be able to make her see again. After she was told, in every hospital in Georgia and Russia, that it was impossible to do this procedure, she started to send requests to hospitals around the world. One of the answers she received was from the Hospital of the West Galilee in Nahariya, where the doctors decided that although the procedure is dangerous, they were willing to take the chance to bring Nana’s sight back with a cornea implant. Nana’s story was even brought to the knowledge of the president of Georgia, who helped raise money for the highly complicated surgery.
Irina, a friend of Nana’s, who accompanied her to her surgery in Israel, said: “A day after the surgery she opened her eyes, saw a green field through the window and asked if the same colors exist in her country as well. She finally understood what a car is, and how the sky looks. It was really emotional.”
Although she was born in Georgia, Nana now defines Israel as “the 2nd country she was born in.” “All of my dreams came true here,” she said, and revealed that she’s planning to write a book about her experience with blindness and her “rebirth” in Israel.