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@ right­ or 082 600 5970.

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