efe-epaBy Maria M. Mur Santiago

Nicol has not been to a check-up for her injured left eye since March, roughly the same amount of time that Albano has gone without medical care. Felipe has been a bit more fortunate and last week was able to see his prosthetist for the first time in just over two months.

All three were left virtually blinded in one eye after being struck by pellets and tear gas fired by Chilean security forces late last year, when violent protests against cost-of-living increases and inequality left 30 dead and shook the foundations of what had been regarded as Latin America's most stable country.

The three say they feel completely abandoned and fearful that their conditions will deteriorate after a government ocular restoration program was put on "stand-by," with no indication given of when it will be reactivated.