Nairobi residents to get free eye screening and cataract surgeries


Scolastica Kidwawa gets her eye checked by a specialist during a free eye camp at Uzima University grounds, Kisumu. August 2016. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Nairobi residents with eye problems have been urged to turn out in large numbers for free screening and cataract surgeries.

The initiative has been sponsored by the office of Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris in partnership with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

NMS Director General Mohamed Badi said screening vehicles will move around different localities. At least 500 people with cataracts will undergo a free operation.

Mandatory pre-screening sessions will be conducted for residents of Ruaraka, Mathare, Embakasi, Starehe, Kamukunji,  Makadara, Langata, Westlands, Dagoretti, Kibra, Roysambu and Kasarani ahead of the surgeries scheduled for October 9 to October 14.

Symptoms of cataract include mild eye blurriness and cloudiness, early sensitivity to light and glare and an ever-increasing eye strain.

“We are not going to allow a productive generation to go blind, yet we can have the condition prevented,” said Passaris.

Other symptoms are sudden headaches, seeing flashes of light, sudden vision changes and double vision. If left untreated, cataracts eventually develop into total blindness, but scientifically, most cataracts develop when aging or due to injury to the eye's lens.

Blindness by cataract is gradual and takes several months, but is reversible through surgery, injections and a patient can also have artificial eyes.

A medical team comprising ophthalmologists, optometrists and nurses from Visio Sense  Fronteres in Spain and Lions Sight First Eye Hospital will perform the free surgeries.

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