Lafayette Family Eyecare & Acadiana Helps 6-Year-Old Carencro Student with Cataracts


Dr. Piccione with Lafayette Family Eyecare performs cataract surgery for a 6-year-old boy, Iker

News Article: Iker looks toward the future By: Katie Lopez

Back in April, Victor Jorges brought you the story of Iker Sandavol-Martinez. At the age of six he was quickly losing his eyesight. His teacher at Carencro Heights Elementary noticed that he needed help. She set up a GoFundMe and in true Acadiana fashion people stepped up to help Iker get the surgery he needed. Today, Iker's parenting could not be more thrilled with their son's results.

"We are happy because now he can go to school and see correctly," Iker's father said. "We're just happy."

Dr. Jim Piccione with Lafayette Family Eye Care is the person who performed surgery on Iker. He said he was going to try everything in his power to correct the six-year-old's eyesight. Piccione said Iker was older than he is used to seeing for the surgery; he had some concerns. "We usually like to operate on them very early--eight to twelve weeks of age," Piccione said. "Iker was 6-years-old when he presented to me...so very late. A lot of time those patients don't do so well . It was imperative to do the surgery as soon as possible to remove the cataracts. He was old enough that I could put an implant in both eyes."

Iker has cataracts. It creates a fog over the natural lens of the eye and, over time, makes harder for Iker to see clearly. "I believe his, based on age and presentation, was probably developmental," Dr. Piccione said. "Meaning it gradually worsened as he got older. I don't think he was born with horrible cataracts from day one because I think his vision would've been much worse when he presented to me at six years of age." Dr. Piccione's job was to get an implant to fit Iker's eye, now, and grow with him over the years. "It's to make those measurements to make sure we put the correct implant to last him for his lifetime," Piccione said. "He may need glasses for reading, but the goal was that he wouldn't need glasses for distance."

Before the surgery, Iker's vision was 2300 in the right eye and 2100 in the left eye. The standard for being considered legally blind is 2200. Today, the little boy's eyesight without glass is 20/30. "Which is significant," Piccione said. "You need to be 20/40 to get an unrestricted driver's license. He did excellent. Up close he can see 20/25 with his reader glasses. I think he'll do tremendous, and his vision will only improve as he gets older." The surgery has been life-changing for Iker and his family. Those blobs he used to see are now clear pictures. His parents faces and expressions now show much more than they did before. As for the money raised to help Iker get the surgery, Dr. Piccione said that he will have some left over to help with the cost of glasses in the future.

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