Eye specialists restore sight

A hundred and three visually impaired patients underwent life-changing operations at the Frontier Hospital on Saturday that will help restore vision lost to cataracts.

Frontier Hospital CEO Sindiswa Tywabi said cataracts were the leading cause of blindness, indicating that people did not have access to such services. She added that October was Eye Care Awareness Month and the hospital annually performed the outreach. Tywabe also said the hospital was privileged to get assistance from ‘senior and seasoned’ specialists doctors Nkosiphendule Nozozo and Gcobani Tuswa, who volunteered their services. She also acknowledged the input made by partners, the Ingqanga Group led by local doctor Mawabo Ntshulana.

People living with blindness tend to not look for intervention, they just accept the situation as it is. The department of health took it upon ourselves to reach into areas and market the services. We have health promoters and health practitioners who are actually preaching the gospel. We started operating on a small scale, but because blindness, among other non-communicable diseases, is one of the priorities for our government, we are saying it is avoidable.” Tywabi said the free service was to assist the underprivileged, indicating that since one of the hospital ophthalmologists relocated, it had resulted in long waiting periods, causing a backlog in the system.

An emotional Tywabi said she was excited to hear the fulfilling testimonies by the patients.

Notiti Mzakhwe from Sterkspruit, who had been battling with her sight for two years, said she had lost all hope after travelling great distances trying to get help. “I cannot do anything, life is at a standstill. I cannot clean my house or go to church, let alone see my food. I stay with my son and my grandchildren and my son does everything. I thank the doctors who came here today. I will tell others that I finally received the help I had been longing for.”

Andile Gosi from Dutywa, who was returning for his second operation, said his eyes started itching a while back and he suddenly lost his sight. “My right eye was operated on last year and I have not experienced any problems since. Life was rather difficult. I was pushed in a wheelchair and it was not easy. Things have changed for the better,” said Gosi.

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