Cataract surgery has transformed Birketo's life

June 2018

We met Birketo in 2018, when he was around 80 years old, he had cataracts in both his eyes. For three years, he’s been almost totally blind. He was a farmer before he started losing his sight – but now he’s unable to work, his sons have had to take on his responsibilities.

Until recently he was forced to spend his days at home. “I can’t go here or there,” Birketo explains. “It is very difficult for me. The only thing I can do is hear. Even my family hand feed me.”

When a person goes blind – it not only affects their life, but also the lives of their family who either depend on them or look after them.

However it doesn’t need to be this way. A straightforward cataract operation can give someone like Birketo their sight and independence back – transforming their life and those of their family.

Fortunately for Birketo, his story had a happy ending. He received a cataract operation at an Orbis-supported program and it has totally transformed his life.

The day after his operation, he had his eye patches removed. His nine-year-old grandson, Atateso, was in the room to see the results. As the patches were removed, the doctor asked if he could see who was is in front him. Birketo instantly exclaimed: “I know him! That’s my grandson!” It was an incredibly special moment.

We caught up with him later to see how he was doing: “I can see!” he told us. “They showed me the kid! I’m very happy. I’m looking forward to what I can see… so I’m very happy.”

It’s incredible to see the effect this routine surgery has had on Birketo, and how happy it’s made him and his grandson.

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