Nicolly Pereira, a 2-year-old deaf and blind girl from Santa Catarina, Brazil, had her vision restored March 17, at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami (video below).
"The only word that can be used to describe the feeling is 'God,'" the toddler's mother, Daiana Pereira, recently told the Miami Herald. "My daughter is free now. She now shines more than before. She has now become a reference for people who didn’t believe in miracles."
"I feel like ‘mission accomplished,’ that there’s a yes for all those no’s that I received for two years when I was told it wasn’t possible," Daiana added. "That fact that now it’s possible, that it happened, made me feel incredible."
Nicolly was born with pediatric glaucoma, could not see light, and underwent seven unsuccessful surgeries in her home country.
According to PEOPLE, pediatric glaucoma is when fluid builds up in the eye(s), negatively affects the vision and can result in blindness.
Daiana wrote about Nicolly on Facebook and the story went viral. A Miami resident contacted the Jackson Health Foundation’s International Kids Fund (Wonderfund), which worked with the Kevin Garcia Foundation to raise more than $17,000 for the girl's eye surgery.
Dr. Alana Grajewski performed the three-hour surgery, but wasn't sure of the chances of success:
When she arrived, I felt I had made a mistake, because normally when they have the children arrive, they have some sort of vision that’s measurable. We have a technician look at them initially and ... they wrote down that Nicolly couldn’t see anything, not even a light.
It was amazing. Everything came together. The first day after surgery she had eye patches on both eyes.
[Nicolly was] smiling ear to ear and singing. I loved the feeling of first seeing her mom’s face. That just moved me so much ... Then all of a sudden, she realized: "Oh my gosh, that’s my mom." And her mother could tell the recognition. It was just one of those moments — priceless.
As far the child's deafness, University of Miami health care system (includes Bascom Palmer) doctors found that she simply had water in her inner ears. The physicians drained the water in about 30 minutes.
Nicolly is now nearsighted and wears glasses, but she can see, hear, and stand; a stark contrast to when she pulled herself across the floor and lived in her own world.
Nicolly's eyes are still adjusting since her surgery because they are still healing. She will have to get good follow-up care in Brazil and return to Bascom Palmer in a year.
The Miami doctors want to train eye doctors in Brazil so that they can detect signs of glaucoma and treat the condition early so that people do not lose their vision entirely.