Cataract surgery for Lae

60 patients have registered for free cataract surgery under this campaign.

“After the release of the RAAB 2017 report, we felt we had to aggressively scale-up our efforts at providing basic eyecare to the entire population of Papua New Guinea,” said Dr Amyna Sultan, one of the core member of the not-for-profit Laila Foundation. 

40,000 people unnecessarily blind

Either no access to health facilities or lack of awareness are the reasons behind this sad scenario.

There are two main causes behind this treatable condition: Refractive error and cataract.

With refractive error – many do not know that all that is needed is a simple pair of glasses to see clearly.

While cataract – clouding of the lens in the eye – can be surgically removed at the earliest, and sight fully restored.

Cataract linked to diabetes

For diabetics, the risk is higher as diabetes develops cataract faster.

People with diabetes can have an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy – an increasing cause of blindness worldwide.

This is when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the eye (retina). 

According to Dr Amyna Sultan, director Pacific International Hospital, the prevalence of diabetes/ high sugar is increasing in PNG.

She is also an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) and stresses that a baseline eye examination is important for diabetics.

Study: Over 40,000 people in PNG suffer blindness

The RAAB is a population-based survey to assess the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment, its main causes, the output and quality of cataract surgery and other indicators for eye care services.

The study was conducted by the National Prevention of Blindness Committee (PBL) carried out at 100 randomly selected communities in PNG.

The study determined the primary cause of blindness, which is untreated cataract, and revealed that 67,987 people are blind in one eye.