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.
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