Richmond twins given ‘Gift of Sight’

Richmond twins given ‘Gift of Sight’
Aliza Pandey-Elina Pandey one day after LASIK.

By Kathy Chouteau

Aliza and Elina Pandey, 30-year-old identical twins from Richmond, both struggled with bad eyesight without the aid of glasses or contacts.

That is, until Dr. Michael Furlong, the founder and clinical director of Furlong Vision Correction, recently worked with his team to provide the twins with free vision correction as part of the annual Gift of Sight program.

Since 2002, the program has been providing no-cost exams, surgery and follow-up care for up to 10 patients nominated by community members or associated with Silicon Valley-based nonprofits. During two decades of work from 2002-2022, the Gift of Sight has provided more than $1.2 million in vision correction services to 197 patients. Aliza and Elina now count themselves as part of this fortunate group.

Dr. Furlong said that it feels incredible to positively change the lives of so many really deserving individuals. “I am truly grateful to be able to donate these services and believe it is just as rewarding for me as it is for those we are helping.”

Richmond twins given ‘Gift of Sight’
Elina Pandey, Aliza Pandey before LASIK.

The twins originally hail from Kathmandu, Nepal and relocated to Sunnyvale in 2013. Side-by-side, they earned their Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from San Jose State University. The sisters went on to marry their husbands in a dual wedding ceremony June 23 at the Benicia Historic Museum and now both live in Richmond.

So it stands to reason that Aliza and Elena would get their vision corrected together too. After Aliza was nominated for the Gift of Sight program by a former participant, the twins moved forward on their LASIK eye surgery.

Aliza, married to Milan KC, an Army Reservist previously deployed to Syria and Kuwait, said that prior to the surgery, she couldn’t see without her glasses or contacts, which was uncomfortable. She said Dr. Furlong and his team were very informative and helpful during her consultation and expressed her gratitude. “The procedure was quick and painless and my vision is now 20/15; it was awesome and amazing!”

Likewise, Elina said the LASIK procedure went smoothly and Dr. Furlong and his staff were both friendly and supportive. She added that they kept her calm and talked her through everything. “My vision has been clear and I am again really grateful and thankful to see the world again without glasses or contacts.”

Learn more about the Gift of Sight program.