Trust focuses on removing cataracts to prevent blindness
ABOUT 29 000 South Africans could become blind as a result of untreated cataracts, Right to Sight Trust has said.
Chairperson Dr Bayanda Mbambisa said government facilities in most provinces were unable to meet the demand for eyesight-saving surgery and waiting lists were stretching well over a year.
To prevent this, the organisation, which is the philanthropic arm of the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa, and which has contributed more than R50 million in services over the past three years to vision-restoring operations, is calling on corporates to make financial donations. They said they were running out of funds to cover the cost of vital surgical consumables like intraocular lens implants that restore vision.
Last year alone, the organisation said it helped more than 600 people regain their sight.
Mbambisa said: “While the bulk of the cost for the surgeries are borne by ophthalmologists and hospitals that provide free time and theatre space, there is an urgent need for funding to cover the consumables that are essential to surgery.
“Funding is the only obstacle that stands between this highly effective partnership model and our ability to provide sight-saving surgeries.”
She said despite being able to assist in improving access to high quality eye care for those in need, the organisation would struggle to accomplish its goal of ending preventable blindness in the target year of 2020.
“Every donation restores the sight and dignity of one patient and filters down to a better quality of life for family members and friends who have been caring for the blind or partially sighted individual. We urge those in a position to assist financially to support us in caring for those who have no other means,” she said.
Corporates can support the project by contacting Cindy Buské, at cindy@ righttosight.org or 082 600 5970.