For the first time in many years, Anna Guseva, a teen from Moscow, Russia, can see letters and read print once again, thanks to the expertise of Dr. Bruce Rosenthal, Chief of Low Vision at Lighthouse International.
Anna suffers from a severe case of Retinopathy of Prematurity (formerly known as retrolental fibroplasia). Since birth, she has been permanently blind in her right eye. When she was two years old, she had a cataract removed from the left eye and later had surgery for a detached retina. After these operations, she had very little vision present in her left eye. While at a young age, with the limited vision she had left and with help from her mother, Anna taught herself to read the printed Russian alphabet. For many years she was unable to see the Russian alphabet, forcing her to continue studying in Braille.
Guseva has never allowed her disability to interfere with her desire to continue learning. Along with her daily school activities, including sports, she makes beautiful beaded jewelry and loves to sing. Yet, her vision continued to gradually decrease.
Recently, Anna came to the United States with the help of the Russian American Cultural Heritage Center, Countess Tatiana Bobrinskoy and the Order of St. John, a major international charity tracing its origin back 900 years.
During her visit to the U.S., Anna visited Lighthouse International in New York City, where Dr. Rosenthal created a special combination of magnification devices designed to address her specific condition and use the little vision that remains. “I designed a special telescopic lens that attaches to her left eye glass; resembling a jeweler’s loupe. She can adjust the lenses, to view distance objects, as she has never seen them before,” he explains. Dr. Rosenthal also prescribed extremely high-powered reading lenses (known as microscopic lenses) that allow her to see clearer and at a closer distance.
Using the newly designed lenses, along with a digital magnifier, Anna can now read newspapers and magazines at a close range for the first time since she taught herself the Russian alphabet. While in the doctor’s exam room, she recognized the face of a woman in a magazine and became extremely emotional. With a broad smile, the shy teenager exclaimed, “I am so happy! Now I can read, I can see!”
States Dr. Rosenthal, “Now new worlds are open to her-- from visiting museums and reading new books to going online and living the life of a regular teenager.”
Anna and her mother have now returned to Moscow, where she will continue therapy with the new devices, work to further her range of vision and focus on new vistas and opportunities ahead.
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UPDATE: We are proud to share a recently received a thank-you letter from the President of the Russian American Cultural Heritage Center, located in Manhattan, on behalf of Anna's family.
Dear Dr. Rosenthal,
On behalf of Anna Guseva’s family, on behalf of RACH-C, from me personally, I would like to express our deepest gratitude for everything that you did for Anna.
Your involvement and contribution and gifts really made a great difference in Anna's life as well as in the lives of those of us who were able to meet you and see your fantastic work!
We are preparing an article to be published in the Russian press about that story, and as soon it is out, we will bring it to you.
The fact that you made glasses that gave Anna the opportunity to be able to see for the first time in years, to read was a miracle!
Thanks to you, many more Russian people in Russia and in New York will be able to learn about the Lighthouse, about your work and about American charity, which is something that the Russian people don’t know much about.
Thank you so very much for everything.
Olga Zatsepina, PhD
President, Russian American Cultural HeritageCenter
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