Pascasie Mukandutiye never dreamt she would one day get her eyesight back as she had been blind for a long time due to a cataract. But today, she is in high spirits having under gone free surgery to regain her sight.
The operation was carried out at Ruhengeri Hospital in Musanze District under a partnership between the Ministry of Health, and Sphere Bluoshen and Barraquer Foundation from Spain.
Mukandutiye, in her 80s, a resident of Cyuve Sector in Musanze, was part of 235 eye patients who were operated on last week out of the 600 examined and given eye glasses.
“I could not see my grand children and tell my belongings. Some of my neighbours used to say I would not recover and see anything but now I can see you taking notes and can differentiate colours, know who is who and do some household chores,” Mukandutiye said.
“I encourage other people who have cataracts and other eye problems to go to the hospital for treatment.”
Others who were operated on were upbeat, saying their lives would change for good.
Elina Narayaremye, from Jenda Sector in Nyabihu District, said. “After the surgery, I can see everything very well and I can go shopping, farming and do other activities that will improve my welfare, thanks to the doctors who have ensured I regain my sight,” Narayaremye said.
Speaking to The New Times, Dr David Muhire Karama, the Director of Ophthalmology Department at Ruhengeri Hospital, appreciated the service offered by the Spanish experts.
“We are very happy for their input as we have learnt a lot from them and are going to reinforce the service,” Muhire said.
Cause of cataract
Malnutrition and exposure to sunlight contribute to the early appearance and rapid progression of cataracts and is a leading cause of blindness.
According to Dr Julia Sempere, cataract surgery involves a technique known as phacoemulsification, which involves using ultrasound to break down the cataract and then aspirating it through a cannula.
“After taking out the cataract and putting a lens, the patient has a permanent intraocular lens and a new view on the world, something that not many years ago would have been unthinkable for many people, so more, people should visit hospitals for cataract surgery operations,” Sempere explained.
This is the second such expedition in Rwanda sponsored by Sphera Bluoshen, an international medical services organisation committed to developing healthcare services and infrastructures.
According to the World Health Organisation, cataracts are responsible for 48 per cent of blindness around the world, and many countries still don’t have the medical resources needed to remove them.
Over 40 million people around the world suffer from curable blindness caused by cataracts.