An Accident Took Her Sight. Another Just Gave It Back
Even Mary Ann Franco's surgeon can't exactly explain what happened
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2016 2:58 PM CDT
Updated May 7, 2016 4:35 PM CDT
Stock image.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – After a car accident injured her spine in 1995, Mary Ann Franco lost her vision. But after being blind for 21 years, the Florida woman fell in her home and hurt her neck ... and woke up from the ensuing spinal surgery on April 6 with the ability to see. "Out the window, I could see the trees. I could see the houses and stuff," Franco tells WPBF. Oddly, Franco was colorblind before her car accident, and now she can also see colors. The neurosurgeon who operated on her says he has no scientific explanation for what happened—Dr. John Afshar tells ABC News it's a "true miracle"—but he has an idea.

If an artery in Franco's spine was "kinked" in the car accident, restricting the flow of blood to the part of her brain that handles vision, he may have inadvertently "unkinked" the same artery during the recent surgery, he theorizes. "And when we gave that extra amount of blood flow by unkinking the vessel, it could have re-established the blood flow," he tells WPBF, though he notes that none of this is certain. But an explanation doesn't matter much to Franco: "The sun is coming through the trees," she said on a recent morning. "Oh God, it’s so wonderful to see." Nature isn't the only sight for her to behold: Franco has seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren who WPBF notes she has hugged and kissed but never seen. (This 5th-grader just saw his mom clearly for the first time.)