A Brazilian toddler who suffered from glaucoma can now see and hear after traveling to the U.S. for life-changing surgery.
Footage shows the incredible moment 2-year-old Nicolly saw and heard her mom for the first time after the successful procedures in Miami, Florida.
Nicolly and her mother, 26-year-old Diana Periera, traveled from their home in Santa Catarina, Brazil to Miami last month so the toddler could undergo corrective surgeries at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.
Nicolly was born with glaucoma, a disease that usually affects adults. About one in 25,000 babies are born with the disease but younger patients can be cured.
“The optic nerve is what's damaged in glaucoma. We could see that there was still nerve tissue so there definitely was hope for vision," Dr. Grajewski told WSVN.
Before traveling to the U.S., Nicolly had received seven surgeries to help her eyesight in Brazil but they were all unsuccessful. So her distraught mother turned to social media for help.
By creating a Facebook page for Nicolly, word spread. With help from the International Kids Fund, almost $20,000 was raised for her eye surgery. Housing and gift cards were provided to the family for their six-week stay.
According to The Miami Herald, a 10-year-old donated prize money he won in a youth racing league to buy airline tickets for Nicolly and Diana.
The strangers' efforts allowed the little girl to finally receive her much-needed surgery.
Dr. Alana Grajewki told WSVN: "She was blind, and now she sees. She could not see light at all in one eye, and she could barely see light in the other eye."
But that was not all: doctors at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute discovered she could not hear either, due to fluid buildup in her inner ear.
So Dr. Ramzi Younis, a pediatric ear, nose and throat expert at the University of Miami, donated his time to perform the surgery. He drained her ears and restored her hearing on the same day she underwent the procedure on her eyes.
Nicolly, who now wears glasses, and her mom have returned to Brazil. They will return to Miami next year for a follow-up visit.