Eye centre brings ‘light’ to patients

2016-11-03 06:00
Photo: andile sithole From darkness to light (from left) Phillipine Mkhize, Rajen Naidoo, Sharen Naidoo, Swami Lokasangrahananda, Krennel Naidoo and Vinod Soni.

Photo: andile sithole From darkness to light (from left) Phillipine Mkhize, Rajen Naidoo, Sharen Naidoo, Swami Lokasangrahananda, Krennel Naidoo and Vinod Soni.

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AS many people throughout the world walk around with a sight threatening disease that clouds the lens of the eyes, Tongaat Eye Centre started a pilot project to assist residents with cataracts in their eyes.

The centre carried out free cataracts surgeries (a procedure performed to remove a cloudy lens from the eye) for two needy patients from Tongaat and Stanger to commemorate World Eye Sight Awareness Month in October.

The surgeries were done at KZN Day Clinic in Umhlanga on 26 October.

A Tongaat resident Rajen Naidoo (74) said: “I used to have cloudy vision in the mornings and my sight was blur. I saw an advert in Coastal Weekly two months ago and decided to visit the Tongaat Eye Centre. With the help of the doctor, I was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes which were severe. In the interim the doctor from Tongaat Eye Centre was very kind to get me into the outreach programme. My cataracts operation was done at KZN Day Clinic in Umhlanga. I am very grateful to the doctors and the staff at Tongaat Eye Centre and KZN Day Clinic.”

Another patient Phillipine Mkhize (69) was ecstatic and encouraged other senior citizens to be aware of cataracts.

Mkhize, a resident from Stanger, said she saw an advert in the Stanger Weekly inviting residents to visit the centre in Tongaat.

“I started to feel pain in my right eye in 2014. I have been in and out of hospitals trying to get help, but all my attempts were unsuccessful. My brother then suggested that I visit the Tongaat Eye Centre in Tongaat. Today I am happy that I can see again after two years of struggling to get assistance.”

Swami Lokasangrahananda formed a strong alliance with the centre in a bid to help the community.

“We are also inviting other doctors willing to give back to the community to join us. Our intention is to encourage doctors to volunteer and see one patient free of charge in a month. We are looking at getting more doctors who will volunteer their services to the community.

“In the meantime we have 18 doctors who have joined our team and they are willing to serve the community. More doctors will help us achieve our goals,” he said.

The eye surgeon at Tongaat Eye Centre Dr Lavindren Naidoo thanked companies and people who supported them in their initiative.

The people and companies who contributed were Anton Muller and the staff of KZN Day Clinic, National Medical Supplies, Alcon and Doctor K Govender (anaesthetist).

“It is only through such generous sponsorship that such outreach efforts can grow in magnitude,” Naidoo said.

Practice manager Sharen Naidoo, who was also involved in the preparations and distribution of food hampers to patients after the surgery in commemoration of Diwali, said: “We feel that this surgery fell at an especially auspicious time for these patients as Diwali marks the triumph of light over darkness and in many ways, these patients were removed from the darkness of blindness and brought into the light by this sight saving surgery.”

Naidoo said that outreach activities are carried out by eye care professionals during the month of October in order to lessen the burden of blindness in the society.

She said that cataracts is a term is used to describe the clouding of the natural lens of the eye.

“A clouded lens can be compared to a window that is frosted or fogged with steam.

“When the lens become cloudy, the light reaching the retina is blurred, distorted and vision is affected. This clouded lens is called a cataract and it must be removed before vision can be restored. Cataracts are not cancerous.

“They can be treated with surgical procedures performed in theatres,” she said.

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