Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Face to face with chronic disease: Cataract

Kuzhanthiammal's story: the gift of sight 

Kuzhanthiammal began to worry two years ago when a white film started to cloud one of her eyes. Her sight rapidly deteriorated, making it hard to work on her land and take care of her family. The nearest hospital was too far away and too expensive to visit.

Soon after her symptoms appeared, Kuzhanthiammal heard that a mobile diagnostic eye clinic was visiting a nearby village. The clinic is run by the Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, India, to reach people living in remote, rural villages. Kuzhanthiammal went to the clinic, and within a few minutes, she was diagnosed with cataract.

The clinic staff registered Kuzhanthiammal for free cataract surgery the following week at the hospital. The programme also covered transportation costs. "A bus picked me up with seven other people and drove us to the hospital," she says. Around 70% of patients at the hospital receive free eye surgery and follow-up care. They are subsidized by the 30% who are able to pay for their medical care. The hospital also produces and sells lenses to help pay for its services.
Now 67 years old, Kuzhanthiammal successfully underwent surgery on her other eye a few months ago. "The operation was over so quickly. It's a miracle — it's like waking up with your problems gone."

Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world. Thanks to the innovative work of hospitals like Aravind, people who have limited access to health care are receiving sight-saving interventions that wouldn't otherwise be available.

Source:  WHO

No comments:

Post a Comment