Over 100 patients turned up at the Lae International Hospital (LIH) for the Laila Foundation free cataract surgery operation in Lae over the weekend.
Laila Foundation director and Pacific International Hospital (PIH) consultant ophthalmologist Dr Amyna Sultan said the free of charge cataract surgery was aimed at addressing the high record of cataract in the country.
“According to the rapid assessment of blindness (RAAB 2017) report, the National prevention of blindness committee revealed that PNG has the highest prevalence of unnecessary blindness that is secondary to cataract (cloudy lens in the eye),” Dr Sultan said.
“These statistics are astounding and 88 per cent of people over the age of 50 are likely to be blind from cataracts.
She said as an organisation providing eye care services, they felt compelled to increase their efforts in reaching out to the people who do not have access to these services.
“Avoidable blindness is secondary to cataracts and is a major cause of worry in PNG where many people with reversible blindness, stay blind either out of ignorance and lack of access to proper eye care facility and are becoming a burden on their families and communities,” Dr Sultan said.
The three-day cataract surgery saw over 45 eye patients screened and confirmed for the surgery on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Dr Sultan said although the number was set for 100 plus patients to undergo the surgery, priorities were given to those patients with cataract in both eyes.
“It won’t be fair for many patients but we are concentrating on patients with both eyes affected for the surgery then we will attend to the others. We will still attend to them,” she said.
She announced that the cataract surgery will be conducted on a monthly basis and those patients that will not undergo the surgery during this three-day program will be seen next month.
“We will be running this free cataract surgery in Lae on monthly basis and our next operation will be staged in April 11 to 13 here (LIH),” Dr Sultan said. Post Courier
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