Cataract patient in Ghana, Mary
Meet Mary, a bilaterally blind 79 year-old farmer and widow from Ekumfi, a town in the central region of Ghana where her life revolved around her six children and farming. But farming wasn’t just her livelihood, she loved and had a passion for it. Unfortunately, due to loss of vision brought on by cataracts in both eyes, she was forced to give up farming.
“My entire life and the sustaining of my family was through this business of farming. It is more or less like a hobby to me, even though people consider it as work. I really missed that part of my life. Another thing is that it is a tradition for the family to come together twice a year to meet and discuss issues. During this occasion, I get the opportunity to see my grandchildren and the new born babies who have joined the family. Because of my condition, I could no longer enjoy those moments with my grandchildren. Not only did [cataracts] rob me of my sight, but it also robbed me of my joy and happiness.”
Mary shared that she started experiencing blurred vision, headaches and itching in both eyes a year and a half after her husband passed away. Unfortunately, according to Mary, nobody paid attention to her complaints until one day she fell while she was walking. That was when her family realized her condition had worsened and her children took her to an eye clinic in nearby Esikuma, but she received no diagnosis.
According to Mary’s children, another organization came to do free eye screenings in Esikuma and recommended some eye drops, but Mary’s symptoms did not improve. Still determined to find a solution, the family reached out to a friend who also had cataracts and recently had her sight restored by HCP Partner, Dr. Boateng Wiafe, his team from Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and HCP Global Eye Health Partner, Operation Eyesight at an outreach in Saltpond. She was directed to go to the next outreach in Saltpond, where they screened and diagnosed her with bilateral cataracts and scheduled her for surgery.
Although nervous at first, after counseling and speaking to Dr. Boateng, Mary was confident that she would regain her sight. Her surgery was successful and her vision was restored in both eyes. She is now able to move around independently and hopes to return to farming once she is completely healed. In the meantime, she is enjoying spending much more time with her family.
“I am happy because now I am able to visit my children and spend time with them, as well as with my grandchildren, especially those who have moved to other regions due to their jobs or other reasons.”