Skip to main content
Visualizing a Bright Future

A new eye prosthetic gives a girl life-changing confidence and self-esteem

Sandra Arevello says she is now more confident.


andra Arevello sees herself in a whole new light these days. Born with a small eye socket, or microphthalmia, the 11-year-old Naples, Florida, girl wears an eye prosthetic that needs to be replaced as she grows to ensure her orbital bones develop properly and do not cause facial deformities. Sandra received her last prosthesis when she was 7 and was long overdue for a replacement.

Self-conscious about how she looked with her ill-fitting prosthetic, Sandra had stopped socializing until Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, supported by a grant from the Naples Children & Education Foundation, provided her with a new one. “This has helped my self-esteem greatly,” she said. “I’m more confident and feel pretty, as well.”

Sandra’s mother credits Bascom Palmer and NCEF for restoring her daughter’s health and well-being. “There are not enough words to explain how grateful we are,” Sandra Lemus Peña said. “Without them, I would not have been able to get Sandra the help she desperately needed.”

Sandra’s case illustrates the impact NCEF’s Vision Initiative has had on underprivileged, at-risk children in Collier County since it was established in 2012. “When Bascom Palmer joined as a partner in 2020, we were able to expand our services to treat children with most acute eye care challenges,” said Maria Jimenez-Lara, chief executive officer of NCEF. “This is in addition to the approximately 20,000 on-site vision screenings we provide each year to students in Title I schools, providing comprehensive eye exams and two pairs of glasses — one for home and one for school — when medically appropriate.”

Sandra’s optometrist at Bascom Palmer in Naples, Bailey Peterson, O.D., said these services are life-changing for children. “A lot of these families do not have insurance or access to vision care,” Dr. Peterson said. “But because of this vital partnership with NCEF, we can provide children with care so that they have the best prognosis and an equal chance to succeed in life.”

Donate now to support Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and make a difference in the fight to eradicate blinding eye diseases.