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 usually 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. 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.

Owing to his employer’s application, Kapok received a new lens during OHH’s campaign, and together with the assistance of OHH, Helpende Hand, and Jacaranda FM Good Morning Angels, received a second lens a month later.

These lenses are curative for his condition, and his vision has been fully restored. Through these procedures, Kapok had been empowered to work independently and full-time on the farm once again.

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 are all the thanks he needs, Dr Niemandt said.

Causing smiles all around indeed has become the OHH way, we are very proud to have helped Kapok regain his.

Article by Magriet Stander


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