Simply explained, Cataract is an opacity that forms on the eye lens and makes the vision blurredor cloudy. If left untreated, Cataract causes blindness. In fact it is the leading cause of blindness in the world. [i] Cataract blindness sets in slowly, so it is recommended to have an eye check up on regular basis. It is also linked with diseases such as diabetes, exposure to radiation, trauma to an eye, or optical surgery to correct other conditions.
The most common causes of blindness among people of advanced age macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy. Cataract is a common cause of vision impairment among the elderly, but surgery is often effective in restoring vision.[i]
Initially, a patient may not be aware of this problem, and may attribute the decline in the ability to see and, therefore, a need for new glasses. Surgical remedies are the only option available. A research published in British Journal of Ophthalmology on the causes of blindness in Pakistan has provided following findings shown in figure 1attached:
As shown above, Cataract is a leading cause of blindness in Pakistan and thousands of our citizens suffer from this curable disease due to inadequacy of available treatments and high cost of surgical procedures. Cataract is followed by corneal opacity (11.8%), uncorrected aphakia (8.6%) and glaucoma (7.1%) as the leading causes of blindness.[ii] Organizing Eye camps have proved to be effective tool in reaching hundreds at a time. Over a period of 3 days by organizing 2 camps per year at least 150 persons can be helped.
The Eye Center at Fatima Memorial Hospital has been carrying out such Cataract Surgery procedures since2005 with the objective of restoring vision to hundreds of cataract blind persons by holding Free Eye Camps in the hospital for patients in need of Intra-Ocular Lens (IOL) replacement. A summary sheet of the project year wise performance is provided in Table 1 attached:
FMH is now able to attract many needy patients because of the eye camps which are arranged twice ayear. This project has ensured us the availability of patients from all ethnic groups and minorities. Historic performance and future plans regarding Free Eye Camp are summarized in Table 2 attached
Fatima Memorial hospital has been serving humanity for the last 36 years. It provides same quality ofservices to people from all walks of life regardless of their ability to pay. Being an NGO, FMH is always in need of funds, as 50% of our patients are treated at highly subsidized rates, 35% are treated absolutely free. This leaves only 15% private patients who are in the paying category and hence the only source of revenue for the Hospital. [iii]
High inflationary pressure in the general economy and its spillover effects in the Health Sector have caused a tremendous burden on the project program. Spiraling cost of medical supplies, equipment and surgical services have unfortunately surpassed existing operational budgets. But here at FMH we carry on and continue to conduct our free eye camps and surgeries. This has been possible only because of ongoing funding from our donors.
We continue to strive and struggle in our endeavor to provide free eye care to as many patients as possible. At the same time we are also thankful for your precious donations from the previous years that have made our dreampossible. But alas this will all go to waste if we are not able to maintain our momentum for the coming years. A kaleidoscopic representation of our work this year and before has been exhibited for you in figure 2 attached:
So we request you to come forward and become a part of this noble deed. Your donations will go a long waytowards the fulfillment of our collective mission and your enhanced support will mean a lot to us and even more to the poor who will get their vision back and are able once again to see the colors of life, and are thus able to get back to work as well. This is the rarest of all gift that you can provide to any living soul!
[i] A Peer Reviewed Journal of American Academy of Family Physicians, ttp://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0701/p99.html,accessed March, 2013.
[ii] British Journal of Ophthalmology, Causes of Blindness and Visual Impairment in Pakistan, http://bjo.bmj.com/content/91/8/1005.abstract, accessed March, 2013.
[iii] Fatima Memorial Hospital Official Website, http://www.fmsystem.org/fms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=46&Itemid=65,accessed March, 2013.
Cataract surgery removes the natural lens of the eye that has developed an opacification, hence referred to as a cataract. The lens fiber over time may undergo metabolic changes which lead to the development of the cataract and loss of transparency, causing impairment or loss of vision. First symptom include increase glare even form small light sources. The surgical procedure removes this cloudy natural lens and replaces with a synthetic lens to restore the lens's transparency.
Cataract is a leading cause of blindness in Pakistan and thousands of its citizens suffer from this curable disease due to inadequacy of available treatments and lack of affordability of such procedures among the general populace. The Eye Department at the Fatima Memorial Hospital has been carrying out such Cataract Surgery procedures since 2005 with the objective of restoring vision to hundreds of cataract blind persons in need of Intra-Ocular Lens (IOL) replacement. The number of patients who had received IOL implants over the last 5 years is depicted in the Figures below. Out of the total 1292 patents, 194 were funded by our donors through the GlobalGiving.
Fatima Memorial is able to serve deserving patients for Cataract Surgery from the poor and destitute with great success. The platform for this penetration has been the Free Eye camps set up every year, which has increased from once a year to two times a year in recent years. This project ensured that we get a wide variety of patients from several low income areas as well as ethnic groups and minorities.
Although funding requirement was historically met for this project as regards the initially posted target amount of $10,689, a huge need still remains. For this reason, we have decided to continue with this project and are hereby seeking funds to offer the IOL Implants to 150 more patients through GlobalGiving.
The prayers of people like Teacher Rasheed (shown in Picture), will stay with you all along.
Extra effort is needed to reach out to the hundreds requiring IOL Implants to restore their sight and for this we seek your help. Your support will enable us to create greater social impact through an enlarged national footprint. If you feel compassionate for our cause and want to make an impact on the lives of the people by giving them the gift of sight, we request you to donate generously.
We strive to give gifts that do a world of good. Blindness affects rich and poor, young and old—but it is the poor and the old who suffer the greatest burden. Our team of ophthalmologists is working assiduously to combat the challenges faced by increasing number of people suffering from cataract blind by providing quality of treatments for free or at nominal cost to the destitute. With the help of your donations were able to provide free treatment to 60 patients in the last 3 months.
Among these patients was Rehmat Bibi, who was blessed with the gift of sight. As the bandage was removed, it was a moment of surprise for her, she could see the colors of life, then a radiant smile beamed as the she saw the faces of her children and loved ones for the first time in years. It was a miracle for her.
It is with your contributions that we have achieved our goals and may we continue hand-in-hand to work together to give boundless joy to the people that we serve.
FMH is the hope for the less privileged as it provides free cataract treatment to the deserving community. During the last three months, more than 300 patients received successful Intra – Ocular Lens (IOL) treatment.
Nazia (mentioned in the picture) has properly restored its vision, thanks to the free treatment at FMH. Life of the mother of five young children was getting darker and darker as she could not afford.
Nazia is thankful to the donors, who have generously donated for the treatment as her world has been enlightened. There are many others like Nazia who wait for our help. Let’s join our hands and help them see the world.
FMH has been a great source of hope for many people. It provides free cataract treatment to the deserving community. 114 patients received successful Intra-Ocular Lens (IOL) treatment at FMH in the month of February, 2012.
In the picture above, Afzal is being given an eye-check up. He has a family to support and he could not finance for the treatment and was postponing it since long. With the help of FMH, his treatment was completed successfully.
The families of patients who received the treatment were extremely grateful for the free services being provided. We thank all our donors who helped a number of deserving patients. There are many others like Afzal, who depend on us to help them. Let’s join our hands and help them see the world!
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Chief Operating Officer