A smiling woman with an eye patch on the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital

Struggling Rhoda Needed Eye Surgery and You Made It Happen!

For three years, Rhoda struggled with a blinding cataract. With cloudy vision, she couldn’t read very well, was unable to make a living, and at times was even a danger to herself. But thanks to your support, this wonderful woman is once again thriving with healthy sight.

A dense cataract hampered everyday life for Rhoda, 51, who comes from Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city. For work, she would sell her delicious homemade samosas at the market and buy and resell second-hand clothes. But with deteriorating eyesight, earning a living was becoming impossible.

The single mom of three told us: “Not being able to see has been difficult, especially when crossing the roads and getting down the stairs. Sometimes I would miss a step. So of course, I really wanted this cataract to be removed.”

As her vision declined, those in her community noticed her limitations. She added: “People used to say, ‘she is blind, just forgive her, she is blind, she cannot see you. When I passed by someone, they used to say, ‘just forget about her, she’s blind.’ That was hard.

Enough was enough! Rhoda made an appointment at a local eye clinic for a screening and received her cataract diagnosis. However, the surgery was expensive, and Rhoda had no means of affording it, so for now, this crucial surgery would have to wait.

How Your Kindness Turned Rhoda’s Life Around

A woman from Zambia is screened for cataracts in a hospital

Rhoda is screened for cataracts at our partner hospital after years of struggling.

Things started to look up for Rhoda when she was referred for screening at our partner hospital, UTH Eye Hospital in Lusaka.

After the screening, she was given some amazing news! The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital was in town for a three-week ophthalmic project, providing best-in-class training for local eye care teams to restore the sight of children and adults with vision loss.

Rhoda was selected by Sri Lanka‘s highly skilled Dr. Charith Fonseka, a member of our Orbis Volunteer Faculty, to have her cataract removed at no cost to her all thanks to generous contributions from Orbis supporters.

She boarded the Flying Eye Hospital and underwent the surgery while local teams watched from the onboard classroom, asking questions as Dr. Charith Fonseka showcased the latest ophthalmic techniques. The occasion also marked Rhoda’s first time ever on a plane.

A patient undergoes surgery on the Flying Eye Hospital

Rhoda undergoing the surgery she had needed for years.

Not only did Rhoda have her sight restored successfully, but eye teams were able to take away critical eye care skills and knowledge which will enhance vision care in Zambian communities for years to come.

Following surgery, Rhoda shared with us: “Before the operation, my sight was not clear. It was cloudy. But now I can read from my phone and see things quite far away. I was never able to read from my phone unless I put it right next to my eye.”

She added: “I'm very excited because I can cross the roads on my own now and even see things on the TV.”

A patient from Zambia and Orbis staff and trainees take a selfie on the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital

Rhoda smiles for a selfie with the eye team that helped restore her vision.

A Heartfelt Thank You

Had it not been for the Orbis community, Rhoda would still be struggling – facing an uncertain future. Now, with clear vision, she can provide for her family and take care of herself.

Patients leave the Flying Eye Hospital after surgery in Zambia

Rhoda, pictured top left, leaves our Flying Eye Hospital excited about her new future with healthy vision.

Best of all, the local team who observed her surgery have improved their skills and know-how to provide even better care for patients just like Rhoda.

A huge, heartfelt thank you for helping build a world where everyone can access the eye care they need to thrive. We couldn’t do any of this without your support.

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Help us reach more people like Rhoda with quality eye care.

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