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Over 400 People Operated at Lira Hospital Eye Camp

Dr. Zohaib Hassan, a Pakistan Consultant Ophthalmologist who attributed this to a possible lack of facilities and the costs involved in the treatment, wondered why the cataract condition is so common among the people in the Lango sub-region.
Cataract patients after operation at LRRH

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Four hundred and forty-seven- 447 people have undergone a free cataract surgery at a free eye camp at Lira Regional Referral Hospital (LRRH). The eye camp was organized by the Pakistani Association of Lira with support from the Overseas Pakistani's Global Foundation Africa. 

Three ophthalmologists from Pakistan, the USA, and the UK conducted screening and treatment of over 500 people with other eye complications and operated on 447 people with cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye, which makes it difficult to read, drive or see facial expressions because seeing through cloudy lenses is like looking through a frosty window.  

Although most cataracts develop slowly and do not disturb the eyesight, if not treated, they will eventually interfere with one’s vision. Some infections are caused by allergic reactions to dust and direct sunlight.

Dr. Zohaib Hassan, a Pakistan Consultant Ophthalmologist who attributed this to a possible lack of facilities and the costs involved in the treatment, wondered why the cataract condition is so common among the people in the Lango sub-region.

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Dr. Choudry Awich, the principal Ophthalmology Clinical Officer at LRRH attributed the high number of cataract infections to old age, trauma to the eye, and diabetes.

According to Awich, the highest number of cataract patients come from Apac, Alebtong, Dokolo, Oyam, Lira, and Kole districts and Lira city. “Cases of cataract are very common in Lango sub-region. It is common among old people, either the Langi (Lango) people take long to die or maybe there is also violence which affects the eye but the major cause of cataract is just old age and these people come here because it is the only excellency center in the sub-region,” he said.

Genecio Obong, 80, a resident of Apala sub-county in Alebtong District has been struggling with cataracts on both eyes for almost a year during, which he relied on the help of his children to walk him around. In September last year, Obong attempted to undergo an operation but failed to raise the Shillings 500,000 required for the operation at LRRH. However, after hearing radio announcements calling people to the free eye camp, Obong, who was brought by his children is happy to have received a free operation and is hopeful that he will regain his sight.

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Semmy Olila, a resident of Bar sub-county in Lira District, says that she was diagnosed with cataracts but the doctor gave her eye drops to use because she could not afford to pay for the surgery. She is among the people who were lucky enough to be operated on free of charge.

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While Lilly Acen, a resident of Kole District cannot wait to see her grandchildren whom she was unable to see for the last 4 years. Acen’s eye was completely covered by a cataract, which the surgeon successfully removed.

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Mohammad Kazibwe, a resident of Kakoge in Lira City had already had an operation on his right eye at Mengo Hospital, which cost him 3 million Shillings although the operation was not successful and he remained blind. Although still blurry, Kazibwe regained his sight after the second surgery that was done on Tuesday.

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He advised the people in Lango to take good care of their eyes by always wearing sunglasses to prevent direct sunlight as well as dust and other foreign objects from entering the eyes. Whereas Bosco Okabo, 75, who has lived with blindness since 1995 is excited that he is able to see after the operation.

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All patients who underwent surgery and screening were given eyeglasses, eye drops, and other medicines to take for a period of 40 days. The group is expected to hold another eye camp in December this year.

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