A holistic rural development model that seeks to bridge the gap between the urban and rural communities in Sri Lanka via 10 empowerment divisions across 900+ villages island-wide reaching over 68,000+ beneficiaries annually, free of cost.
The Foundation of Goodness, in association with Help Age, has had the wonderful opportunity to facilitate cataract surgeries for rural and impoverished beneficiaries on behalf of the Sri Lanka Association in Geneva, since January 2015. This year saw the successful completion of operations for the 16th batch of patients.
Eleven patients were provided with medical care and surgical assistance, enabling FoG to help 175 patients to-date with their Cataract Surgeries.
According to the latest assessments by the World Health Organisation, cataract is responsible for 51% of world blindness. Cataract remains the leading cause of blindness and as people in the world live longer, the number of people with cataracts is anticipated to grow. Cataract is also an important cause of low vision in both developed and developing countries. Although cataracts can be surgically removed, in many countries barriers exist that prevent patients to access surgery.
Cataract is a vision impairment which results from the natural lens of the human eye losing its transparent property, resulting in blurred vision, light sensitivity and reduced perception of colour. The only treatment for advanced cataract is surgery to remove it. Surgery is done if you cannot perform normal activities, such as driving, reading, or looking at computer or video screens, even with glasses.
Cataract surgery has been shown to be one of the most cost-effective health-care interventions. Even so, most of the rural low income households of Sri Lanka cannot afford this surgery. Unfortunately the Government Health Service in Sri Lanka does not provide the lens required for the cataract operation and the eye drops that are required following cataract surgery are also not available for free. Therefore those cataract patients who can’t afford to buy the lens and eye drops continue to suffer from curable blindness.
The very first batch of 8 cataract patients successfully received surgery in January 2015. This August the sixth phase of the project saw the 16th batch of patients receiving treatment. We are immensely grateful to the Sri Lanka Association in Geneva (SLAG) that came forward to conduct this project to restore sight to rural Sri Lankans, with the assistance of Help Age.