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Positively Jax: Jacksonville dad gets cataract surgery for free

Willie Servance desperately needed surgery to save his sight, but his insurance would not cover the cost. So a local doctor stepped in.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville father, who was quickly losing his sight, received a special gift.

Willie Servance desperately needed surgery to save his sight, but his insurance would not cover the cost. That is when Dr. Ravi Patel at Florida Eye Specialists stepped in and performed the surgery for free.

“I can see a whole lot better now after the cataract surgery than I could ever before,” Servance said.

Patel performed the surgery in October.

“I love hearing the joy in his voice and how happy he is,” Patel said after speaking with Servance following the procedures.

Servance loves being a father to his two children and working as a funeral associate. He has been in that industry for more than 20 years.

But doing simple tasks like helping his son with homework or doing paperwork at his job became overwhelming.

“Filling out different forms, that was kind of hard,” Servance said.

Servance family (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

There was even a struggle to drive at night.

It was all because Servance developed cataracts at just 38 years old.

Patel said cataracts are when the lens in the eyes becomes cloudy or blurry over time. The condition is typical for people in their 60s. One of the reasons for Servance’s early case: He is diabetic.

“Diabetics are three to four times more prone to developing cataracts,” Patel said.

After months of severe vision problems, Servance knew he needed help and quickly.

“You know eventually you’re either going to lose your vision or it’s going to get worse than what it already is,” he said.

Cataract surgery was the answer. Servance needed the surgery done on both eyes. Each procedure took about 15 minutes one week apart. Servance said it gave him a better view of his health and life.

“You want to be able to enjoy every bit of life,” he said.

Servance after surgery (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

“It brings a lot more pride and joy when I can see the patient and see how well they’re doing,” Patel said.

Servance said his sight is the best it has ever been.

There are several things people can do to make sure their cataracts don’t get to this point.

Patel said everyone should get an eye exam once a year.

He also said it is important to visit a doctor as soon as you notice something different about your health. That can lead to early detection and provide more options for solutions. It can keep a problem already in a bad state from getting worse, or even becoming untreatable.

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