Zambian cataract patient Gladys

Gladys struck in the eye with a stick

Months after being struck in the eye with a stick, Gladys, 9, from Zambia noticed white spots in her eye. She was diagnosed with traumatic cataract and sought treatment at our partner hospital.

Ten year old Gladys is the second youngest of five siblings. She lives with her family in Kitwe, a town in the Copperbelt province of Zambia. Their home is only 20kms from Kitwe Eye Annexe, which would prove to be very handy. Gladys is currently completing grade five at school. Her father Joseph is a businessman and repairs air conditioning units, whilst Gladys’s mother is a pastor at a local church.

Gladys had just turned nine in October 2014 when one morning she decided to play with her cousin in the yard. Her cousin, who was 17 at the time, grabbed a stick and struck Gladys in the right eye.

The little girl cried loudly for help and ran to the house to find her father. Her eye immediately turned red and began to swell. Joseph rushed Gladys to the nearest pharmacy to purchase eye drops to sooth and clean his daughter’s eye. After this, she felt a lot better and even went to school the next day, with the incident being quickly forgotten.

Several months later Gladys’s elder sister told her mother that she had noticed “white spots" in Gladys’s right eye, and that she was able to see the spot at night. Gladys’s parents didn’t realise there was a problem, so did not take their daughter’s concerns seriously. That was until February 2015, when both parents noticed the white spot in Gladys’s right eye.

Zambian patient Gladys has a cataract caused by trauma to the eye

Their first reaction was to take Gladys to church to be prayed for but there was no change. They waited four long months before they took their daughter to a clinic in the township. The clinic immediately referred the young girl to Kitwe Central Hospital, the one facility with the skills and expertise to manage paediatric eye conditions.

At the Kitwe Eye Annexe Gladys was diagnosed with traumatic cataract and was booked for cataract surgery. The surgery was a success and whereas Gladys’s visual acuity pre-surgery was recorded as Hand Movement (HM) in the right eye and the left eye 6/6, post-surgery the vision in her right eye was 6/12 and 6/6 with spectacles.

Her parents are so grateful for their daughter’s recovery and vowed to inform others in the about the successful cataract surgery that Gladys had.

Zambian cataract patient Gladys

Every minute a child waits for treatment means they are more likely to be blind for life. Give the gift of sight today.

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