Kenya: More than 200 elderly persons in Ndhiwa constituency may soon turn blind after they were diagnosed with cataracts.
During a medical camp that was set up by doctors from America through an organisation called Life for Children Ministry, it was discovered that the senior citizens were suffering from the serious eye infection.
The medical exercise that was held in Wachara village, Kwabwai ward revealed that the most affected group was elders aged between 50 and 70 years.
Speaking during the four-day exercise, which ended yesterday, the doctors' team leader Therese Maxwel said cataracts are a dangerous condition, which can make someone go blind if not handled with urgency.
"Cataracts cause a spot on the eye lens, which spreads gradually, hence making the victim lose sight," said Dr Maxwel.
She said the disease can only be cured through surgery. "We have treated more than 1,000 people with a number of medical conditions such as sexually transmitted infections, malaria, asthma and many others; but what has caught our attention is the high number of cataract cases in this area," Maxwel added.
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Director of Life for Children Ministry Michael Agwanda, said the elders suffering from cataracts could not be treated immediately on grounds that the doctors did not have the machinery for handling the disease.
Mr Agwanda expressed concern that most of the elders suffering from cataracts could not afford the cost of the required surgery they were to undergo due to financial constraints. He urged the county government to start a local eye clinic to save the residents from such issues.
"The cost of treating cataracts is very high and most of the elderly people in this place are financially unstable. It would be better if the county started an eye clinic for handling this kind of a problem and other complicated health issues," he said.
However, Agwanda promised to liaise with eye specialists from America to intervene in helping the victims.
"I decided to organise this camp after my research revealed that there are many people suffering from various diseases who do not go for medical care in health facilities due to financial constraints," Agwanda said.
Francis Bugo, 63, was diagnosed with cataracts and expressed the ordeal he is facing.
"I have suffered from this problem for more than six months and it it is getting worse by day. I am no longer able to participate in a number of activities that I used to do since the disease has made my movements difficult," he said.