Eye Cataract Project
The Eastern Cape Province is estimated to have 38,354 people who are blind (RAAB study 2010: Fred Hollows Foundation, SA) of whom 62,2% or 24,000 people are blind due to cataracts.
Cataract surgery is available and takes about 15 minutes per operation: There are crucial problems in identification of cataracts, referral and transporting patients to operations.
Many of the hospitals have backlogs of one year or more (before patients can be seen). Some others (hospitals and ophthalmologists) are under-utilized.
Many of the clinic nurses do not know how to diagnose cataracts and when they do, there is often no-where to refer such patients to.
Research in Africa has shown that people who become blind have an average life expectancy of 4 years in rural areas of Africa, after being blinded.
They become dependent, lose hope and the will to live, unless helped to see again through a simple cataract operation.
In 3 months, we helped 121 patients who were blind because of cataracts, to see again. We have set up a system that will help thousands more blind people to see again.