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Free Eye Screening Programme Kicks Off

More than 500 patients have benefited from screenings and treatment of various eye ailments during a free eye camp in Kiambu County.

Under the VIP (Vision, Impact Project), the event was organised by the County government in collaboration with Christian Blind Mission (CBM) and PCEA Kikuyu Hospital.

The patients, who were largely from Thika and Gatundu Sub Counties, received free consultation, screening for eye-related disorders, and treatment in the form of drugs and eye drops. Those in need of cataract surgery were booked for procedures at PCEA Kikuyu Hospital, where they would undergo surgery at a later date.

Veronica Wachira, an ophthalmic nurse at PCEA Kikuyu Hospital, explained that majority of patients who were screened were affected by cataracts, while others had allergic conditions that could be managed with the right medication.

She noted that cases of blindness witnessed at the camp were not permanent as they were cataract related and eye sight could safely be corrected upon their removal.

“Out of the 500 patients who registered for the eye camp, 300 had cataracts, while the rest had allergies and infections. A cataract can be described as a cloudiness of the lens, which hardens and blocks light from penetrating through the retina,” she explained.

On his part, the country Director of CBM, Mr. Eric Osundwa, said a billion people worldwide lived with avoidable blindness or visual impairment due to a lack of access to eye health services.

Photos of various screening activities during the free eye clinic.

“For many men, women and children living in poverty, access to straight-forward ophthalmic interventions such as cataract surgery or a pair of glasses are out of reach. We wanted to ensure that the community here today received access to comprehensive eye health services, especially for the vulnerable, such as children and the elderly,” said Osundwa.

A fifty-five-year-old patient from Kiandutu area in Thika Francis Wangondu said he was happy to have been scheduled for cataract surgery later this month.

“I have been unable to see for two years now due to the cataracts in both of my eyes. I was not able to afford the surgery as the cost of the procedure for one eye is Ksh 18,000 and I did not have the money to have both eyes done as I am not financially stable. I am extremely happy that next month at a time like this, I will be able to see again after the surgery is performed,” he said.

Osundwa confirmed that other similar programmes have been lined up under the VIP project and subcounties like Ruiru, Juja, Lari and Kabete would also benefit from the same. He assured the public that the dates would be announced in due course.

By Hellen Lunalo

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