Cataract blitz restores sight

2018-10-31 06:02
Annatjie Kleynhans, a patient who benifitted from the 14th cataract blitz.

Annatjie Kleynhans, a patient who benifitted from the 14th cataract blitz.

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Every year, Eye Care Awareness Month is celebrated countrywide, running from the second last week in September, to middle October.

For many residents of the central region of South Africa who suffer from poor eyesight due to cataracts, the opportunity to take part in the Horizon Eye Care Centre’s annual cataract blitz is a highlight which changes their life and their sight overnight.

This year, the cataract blitz was held for the 14th time.

The project, established years ago to limit cataract blindness, annually improves the eyesight of about 50 needy patients in the region.

Ophthalmologists at the eye centre operate on the patients, and their sight is recovered to the same quality it was before the cataract developed.

One of the things that patient Japie Joubert (87) from Ladybrand looked forward to most, was to be able to drive his car again.

“About five months ago I lost sight in both my eyes,” said Joubert.

“It was terrifying to be dependent on others to be able to go somewhere.

“In February my right eye was operated on and I could drive again, but because I had trouble with depth perception with just one good eye, I had to ask my neighbour to park my car in the garage at night.”

Rabahulo Mothibedi (88) from Bloemfontein said the first thing he was going to do after the operation, was open his Bible and read it himself.

He said his defective sight even kept him out of church sometimes.

Annatjie Kleynhans (57) from Bloemfontein said she looked forward to being able to read with ease again.

“‘One also has a problem with estimating depth,” said Kleynhans.

“I have missed the mug many times when pouring myself coffee.”

Elaine Carey (66) from Kimberley was diagnosed with glaucoma in 2012.

After receiving laser trabeculoplasty to repair the eye in 2014, she was involved in an accident and the eye was damaged again.

Cataracts can deve­lop for various reasons, including eye damage. She said she was so excited when her daughter had phoned her from Bloemfontein to tell her about this cataract blitz.

“This operation offers me a second chance to regain my sight,” Carey said.

Various sponsors support the cataract blitz by, among other things, giving gift bags to patients and little gifts to spoil the personnel.

The cataract blitz is presented in collaboration with the national and provincial Department of Health, private hospital groups, individual private hospitals, the organisation Right to Sight, the South African Optometric Association, the World Health Organi­sation and various other non-governmental or­ganisations.

This operation offers me a second chance to regain my sight. – Elaine Carey

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