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Eye Camps

Zohra Foundation / Eye Camps

Age related cataracts is the most common cause of blindness in Pakistan.  This treatable and preventable condition is most common amongst the elderly living in poverty.  These vulnerable, elderly men and women barely have enough food and shelter to survive.  Then they face the prospect of losing their eyesight.  Any hope for the future, dignity and independence is lost.

But the good news is that most eyesight problems can be prevented or treated with relatively little expense.  Our free eye camps across Pakistan carry out routine eye exams to treat existing conditions, ease physical discomfort and prevent further damage.  We also offer free eye surgery, and free glasses to correct near and far sighted impairment.

“Zohra Foundation gave me back my eyesight.  I am a widow and no one would give me work because I was blind.  They saved my life.”

Mrs Zeenat Hafiz, 71 years of age

Cataracts and the elderly in Pakistan

The elderly population who are suffering from eye conditions in Pakistan also often have social and emotional needs which treatment providers need to take into consideration. Many of them live in extreme poverty with a lack of access to clean water, food and adequate shelter.  Our trained doctors and nurses not only provide the necessary the medical treatment but also ensure that patients have the basic necessities needed to survive once they leave the camp.

We also know that we need to challenge the misconceptions and incorrect medical advice surrounding cataracts to be able provide the treatment many people so desperately need. In Pakistan commonly held misconceptions about eyesight problems leads many families and individuals to avoid seeking treatment.  We have heard how people have told that cataracts is contagious and that unaffordable, yearly surgery is needed.  Families have been led to believe that surgery is rarely successful and could lead to a deterioration in eye sight or even result in blindness.   Many patients have even been given a wrong diagnosis and so their cataract surgery has failed to make any difference to their eye sight.

Our Eye Camps

Zohra Foundation not only wants to treat those suffering from eyesight problems but also raise awareness of the issues and medical support available in the wider community. It is only then that sufferers will be able to get treatment earlier and no longer suffer the unnecessary trauma and anguish of losing their eyesight.

Cataract FAQs

What is age related cataracts?

Age related cataracts is when the lens, a small transparent disc inside the eye, develops cloud patches. These patches usually become bigger over time causing blurry, misty vision which eventually causes blindness. It usually will appear in both eyes but may not develop at the same rate.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

You should see an optician if you have any of the symptoms below:

  • Your eyesight is blurred or misty
  • You find lights too bright, glaring or it is harder to see in low light
  • Colours look faded

Cataracts is usually not painful and does not make your eyes red or irritated.  However, they can become painful if they are in the advanced stages of cataracts or if you have another eye condition.

How is cataracts diagnosed?

Cataracts is diagnosed by a series of eye tests which measure how well you see at various distances.  If an optician thinks that you may have cataracts, they will arrange more tests and treatment.

What is the treatment for cataracts?

If your cataracts is not too advanced then stronger glasses or brighter reading lights may help your eyesight for a while. However, cataracts worsen over time so eventually surgery is needed to remove and replace the affected lens.

What are the causes of cataracts?

It is not entirely clear why people are more likely to develop cataracts as they get older, but some things listed below increase the risk of developing the condition:

  • A family history of cataracts
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Eye injuries
  • Long term use of steroids
  • Drinking too much alcohol

What happens during cataract surgery?

During cataract surgery a small cut will made in the eye to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear, plastic one.  It usually takes 30-45 minutes and is carried out under local anaesthetic so patients can go home on the same day.  A separate operation is needed for each eye with a gap of 6-12 weeks to allow time for the first eye to fully heal.

It takes 4-6 weeks to fully recover and it is one of the highest performed surgeries with very good success rates.  After surgery most people will need to use glasses for some tasks, such as reading, regardless of which type of lens is fitted.

What are the benefits of surgery?

There are no medicines or eye drops which have been proven to improve cataracts, so surgery is the only way to replace the cloudy lens and fully improve eyesight.

After the surgery you will be able to:

  • See things in focus
  • Look into bright lights and not see as much glare
  • Tell the difference between colours

However, if you have any other condition which is affecting your eyes you may still have limited vision even after successful surgery.

What are the risks of surgery?

There is a very low risk of serious complication from cataracts operations.  The most common can be treated with medicines or further surgery.

The risk of permanent sight loss as a direct result of the operation is only 1 in 1,000.