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Micheal Modubu was ecstatic to have his sight back after undergoing a cataract removal surgery at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital recently. The 67-year-old is one of 130 patients who were given the gift of sight as part of the hospital’s annual cataract marathon, where patients are operated on to decrease the backlog of cataract operations at the hospital.

Cataracts are formed by the clouding of the normally transparent crystalline lens in the eye, causing blurry vision. Most cataracts develop when aging or when injury changes the tissue that makes up the eye’s lens. 

Micheal’s wife, Helen, said she had turned into his full time carer for years, after he completely lost his vision. “We had been waiting for this for years. At first my husband was wearing spectacles thinking it was a minor issue until his condition deteriorated.” 

Her husband had been experiencing some of the common symptoms such as blurred vision; double vision in the affected eye, colours appearing to be faded and sensitivity to light. 

“I am overwhelmed with excitement because there are a lot of challenges that come with taking care of someone who cannot see.  My life was at a complete standstill because looking after him had become my full time job. He couldn’t even do simple things such as getting himself a glass of water, I was his nurse 24/7 and I couldn’t even run errands as he couldn’t be left unattended,” the wife explained. 

Another patient, 59-year-old Gladys Sefo who was completely blind before surgery was also over the moon. She spoke to us fresh from theatre, and she could already identify colours, something she couldn’t do for years. “I am happy to have my vision back. There are three grannies around my area who have also lost their vision and I can’t wait to go back home and tell them my story. I want them to also come here and get help,” she said.  

Sister Nancy Baloyi listed some of the possible immediate complications patients may experience after operation. “There are complications we check immediately when patients come for review the following day. We check if there is an increased Intraocular pressure, as they put a jell in the eye as they perform an operation which may increase the volume inside the eye which may lead to the pressure.

The patient will experience mild pain which must be relieved by a Panado. The eye will also be red on the in incision. We check iris prolapse, where a patient must come for iris repositioning. In addition, we check if there hyphema in anterior chamber,” she explained.

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