Free cataract operations for elderly poor

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Western Provincial Council Health Department (WPCHD) yesterday said it had initiated a programme to perform free cataract surgeries for the elderly poor.

Western Provincial Director Health Services (WPDHS), Dr Deepthi Perera said the programme under the theme ‘From Darkness to Light (Anduren Eliyata) was being carried out in collaboration with the Bandaragama District Hospital and Elderly Committees. A Theatre of the Bandaragama Hospital had been developed and equipped by the WPCHD to perform cataract operations, she said.

Dr. Perera said the WPCHD hoped to carry out 5,000 cataract operations annually. At the end of its first day on Monday (27) an eye surgeon and a trained team had performed over 40 cataract surgeries. The WPCHD had purchased lenses and post surgical medication for all patients, she said.

The WPDHS said that cataract was a major cause of vision impairment in Sri Lanka. There were over one million people affected by cataract in the country according to last year’s statistics. A majority of those affected were above 65 years. It affected the quality of life and could lead to total blindness if neglected, she said.

Dr Perera said the patients required a Grama Sevaka’s letter to certify their economic condition. However, with assistance from the Elderly Committees, the WPCHD would find it easier to ensure that the needy could avail themselves of the service.

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