Why is blindness so prevalent in the developing world?
There are many causes including poverty, and inadequate access to clean water and proper nutrition. In parts of the world where it's a struggle simply to survive, many people have neither a healthy living environment nor access to affordable medical care and a lack of education only worsens the problem. If living conditions threaten sight, it's often impossible to prevent or treat vision loss. Ultimately, the loss of sight can destroy a person's livelihood – or even life itself.
WHAT IS CATARACT?
It is the opacification (becoming cloudy) of the crystalline lens of the eye. The lens is a crystal clear structure whose clarity might be disturbed because of degenerative process. This might cause opacification of the lens fibres and this spreading of cloudiness in the lens is known as cataract.
The cloudiness of the lens scatters the light and stops it from focusing light on the retina, therefore causing clouding of vision, including loss of sight.
WHAT IS THE CURE?
Operation is the only cure for Cataract. Only when the hazy lens is replaced with an intraocular lens, the light rays can once again focus on the retina.
Operation Eyesight is at work in places where people are threatened by blindness and low vision. In many parts of India and sub-Saharan Africa, the conditions that lead to blindness are widespread and deeply rooted, leading to abject poverty or even death.
WHAT DO WE AIM TO ACHIEVE THROUGH THIS CAMPAIGN:
The goal of the project is restoration of vision of 100 cataract affected, deprived women in India, at the least. The loss of sight can destroy a person's livelihood – or even life itself; especially for women.
We want to successfully conduct surgeries for women effected by cataract from villages in the state of Telangana. The surgeries will not only restore their vision but also help them go back to their daily lives. In most cases, these women are able to take up jobs and hence build a sustainable livelihood.
ARTI is a 26 year old woman who had a blissful life till 4 years back. Married to Shyam Sunder a farmer and mother of 2 lovely children, life was good. However, life took a dramatic turn for the worse when during a visit to her parent’s house she developed a minor eye infection. The infection become worse in a couple of days and she was forced to visit a quack in her parents village as there was no other eye care service available. She purchased some eye drops and used them for over 3 months.
At the end of 3 months her vision started deteriorating. She did not know it at that time, but the prolonged usage of steroids had caused cataracts to develop in both her eyes. Her vision consistently diminished in the course of the next 3 years
* The above image is of Arti with her kids after the surgery
When Annapurna, a Community Eye Health Worker with Operation Eyesight supported by Hospital Based Community Eye Health Project at Dr. J.L. Rohatgi Eye Hospital came across her during a door to door survey, she was completely blind in her both her eyes and dependent on her parents to take care of her and her children. Her husband had first sent her away to her parent's house as he was unable to take care of a disabled lady along with two children and after a year, deserted her.
She was counselled by the Community Eye Health Worker and transported to the hospital for surgery. The surgery has been a life changing experience for her. At 26, with regained sight and the ability to take care of her children and her parents, life is looking up. Arti plans to find a job and become economically independent so that she can send her children to school. She also still hopes her husband will return to her now that she is no longer disabled.
Mrs. Md. Mahamudha is 60 years and lives in Chowderpally village, Yacharam Mandal, Ranga Reddy District in Telangana. She has two sons, both are married and live separately. Her husband passed away many years ago. Before her eye sight started diminishing, she used to work as a daily wage labourer in her village. But due to continuously decreasing vision she was not able to work. Her blindness also made her unable to do her household work as she lives alone.
* The above image is of Mrs. Md. Mahamudha after the surgery
Our community eye health worker identified her as cataract patient during a visit to village and brought her to the hospital for the treatment. Post surgery she is now able to see and has started performing her regular work and has rejoined her work as a labourer as well.