OHH & EYE CARE AWARENESS WEEK, 14 & 15 OCTOBER 2019 

Imagine slowly feeling your vision deteriorating and realising you will, very soon, be completely blind? So many things – your work, your family, your life – depend on your being able to see, and, because of something as small as a cataract, you might lose it all.

Vision problems due to cataracts is a reality for thousands of South Africans today. A cataract is a ‘clouding’ of the normally clear crystalline lens in the human eye which causes colours to seem faded and can also affect night vision. When a cataract becomes very dense, these symptoms can be very severe and patients can completely lose the ability to see. 

During South Africa’s Eye Care Awareness Week in October 2019, Operation Healing Hands teamed up with Intercare and ophthalmologist, Dr. Marcel Niemandt, to give the gift of sight to 45 patients in need, by offering free cataract surgeries.

A misconception in society is that cataracts only affect the elderly, and although this condition is quite common among the aged, younger people can suffer from cataracts too. One such person is 36-year-old Kapok Mofokeng, a cattle farm worker from the Free State. When it became increasingly difficult for Kapok to work due to the severity of the cataracts that had developed on both of his eyes, his employer came to OHH for help.

Kapok was one of the 45 patients that Dr. Niemandt operated on at Intercare Hazeldean during Eye Care Awareness Week 2019. His honest and emotional reaction when the protective shield was removed after surgery brought tears to many eyes – including his own. These post-surgery smiles of his patients is all the thanks he needs, Dr. Niemandt said.

Causing smiles all around truly has become the OHH way, and later this year Kapok will be given another reason to smile – and a new lease on life – when the cataract on his other eye will also be removed.

Article by Magriet Stander

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