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13 children who can see again 13 children who can see again

13 children who can see again

Globally, 1.4 million children are blind. Three-quarters of blind children suffer from poverty and their blindness can be life-threatening. But most cases of blindness can be avoided. A simple surgery can restore sight and change their lives. Thanks to your donation, the following 13 children now have a brighter future.

1. Cam from Vietnam

Girls in developing countries have difficulties accessing eye health services because of gender, cultural and social reasons. Girls are 1.5 times more likely to have visual impairment than boys. Seven-year-old Cam, from Vietnam has been blind from cataract for four years. Although she is slowly losing her vision, Cam is eager to learn. She places books close to her nose so she can read. The Fred Hollows Foundation found Cam at a school eye camp and arranged surgery. The whole family is excited that Cam can see again.

2. The Filipino family who finally finished their education

Vision is important to a child’s early development, accounting for three-quarters of their learning. Early detection of eye problems is important for a child’s healthy development. Three generations of the 43-member Timbang family in the Philippines have cataract. Over three  generations, non-one in the family has been able to graduate from primary school. The Fred Hollows Foundation discovered the Timbang family at a partner hospital in Tarlac, where the family lived The children are now at school and pursuing their dreams.

3. The moment Shanice’s eye patch was removed

In developing countries, access to eye health services for children is limited, placing their future at risk.  Kenyan girl Shanice was born with cataract  and without access to eye care, she faced a life of darkness. Fortunately, Shanice’s mom Milly finally met a doctor in the community and told her that help was available from The Fred Hollows Foundation. All she needed to do was go to the Sabatia Eye Hospital and The Foundation would support Shanice’s surgery and the family’s travel expenses.

4. Hao’s miracle

45% of childhood blindness can be prevented or treated. When Hao from Lao PDR was three years old, he began to suffer from cataract. By the time he was five years old, his vision was blurred. No matter where he went, he needed someone to support him. Hao's father was desperate for treatment solution. Fortunately, a simple operation changed Hao’s life and restored his sight. He is now a top student at school and also works as a monk in the temple to help with the village’s ceremonies and funerals.

5. Double strike

Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world. Although cataract surgery for children can be complicated, the condition can still be successfully treated  if discovered early. Twin brothers Samlan and Sinthan are from a village in Lao PDR and  were born with congenital cataract and underwent surgery. When the eye patches were removed, the entire ward was filled with joy. The boys were not only able to follow the light of the doctor's torch, but also see their own toy for the first time -  a red toy police car.

6. A smile that touches people’s hearts

Blindness and poverty increase a child’s isolation and damage their confidence. Seven-year-old  Trut from Vietnam, was blind in her left eye due to cataract. Born in a poor, remote and mountainous area of Vietnam, Trut was unable to access simple eye treatment. Eventually, medical staff visited Trut in her village and immediately arranged surgery at an eye hospital eight hours away. Trut now has the confidence and courage to realise her dreams.

7. I could only touch before, now I can see

Kenya has a population of more than 40 million people, but there are only eight ophthalmologists in the country. It’s a statistic that can have life-changing consequences for people, particularly children who are born blind. Seven-year-old Nabiritha was born with cataract. She sits alone outside her home every day.  Time is critical for children who are blind from cataract. Fortunately, Nabiritha was able to access treatment and her sight was restored after a simple surgery. On her return home from hospital, Nabaritha climbed over the hills to see her neighbors cheering for this little girl who suddenly recovered her vision. 

8. He is clingy towards his grandmother

Early detection and treatment can prevent avoidable blindness. When Xiao Long was still an infant, his family discovered a problem with his eyes. The family tried to bring Xiao Long to the nearest hospital but the doctor said that he could do nothing about his condition. Fortunately, the partner hospital of The Fred Hollows Foundation identified his case and diagnosed congenital cataract. Xiao Long’s sight could be restored if surgery could be organised quickly. 

9. Finally, I can go to school

Thousands of children in developing countries are in need of basic eye treatment. Hieu, who lives in a rural village in south-central Vietnam, has congenital cataract in both eyes. He was unable to see clearly and became completely blind later. He has to rely on his mother for everything. The family’s situation worsened when a flood washed their house away. There was a glimmer of hope for the family when Hieu's mother heard that The Fred Hollows Foundation could fund cataract surgery for her son.  Still, Hieu’s mother had to sell a few assets to pay for transport. After Hieu’s surgery, the family waited nervously for the eye patch to be removed.  Suddenly, the funny, naughty boy was still there,  to the relief to the family.

10. Thank you for lending a helping hand

Three out of every four blind or visually impaired children live in the poorest parts of the world. Cesaria from Burundi in Africa was born blind. In developing countries, the future is bleak for blind children in their first five years. In some cases, parents can’t afford to care for a blind child and rely on relatives to raise them instead.  Cesaria’s grandmother Veronica was the driving force in making sure Cesaria received the medical attention she needed.

11. Seeing his own face for the first time

It’s heart-breaking to hear the stories of blind children. Kipar, from rural Kenya, lives in a simplehome made of bark and mud. Some 42% of Kenya’s population live below the poverty line and on a daily income of only HKD$16. Kipar and his father walked for 25 kilometers in scorching 35 degrees heat to fix Kipar’s eyes. Dr Kibata, who was trained by The Fred Hollows Foundation, operated on Kipar.  When Kipar’s eye path was removed, he caught his father's finger. He could see it.

12. Exciting moment

It’s important for a blind or visually-impaired child to be treated as early as possible. Brain development is usually complete around 10 years of age. During this development phases, the brain learns to process visual stimuli. If a child has poor vision through childhood, their brain may never learn how to process stimuli. . It was a race against time for seven-year-old Leo who had been blind for two years because of cataract. Every day, he would stay in his small brick house. Leo’s mother refused to give up and eventually found the help he needed. After surgery, Leo returned to the village with his mother. Relatives, friends, and neighbors were waiting. When they saw that Leo could see, they were overjoyed. Leo can now learn to write, collect water and play with friends.

13. Chasing dreams

If blind children don’t get the treatment they need in time, they risk being blind for the rest of their lives.  Three-year-old Vann was blind from cataract. Like many people with cataract, Vann only needed a 20-minute operation to rsee again. However, Vann’s father worked in a textile factory on low wages. Finding enough money for Vann’s surgery would be difficult.  Fortunately, The Fred Hollows Foundation supported her surgery. Four years later, The Fred Hollows Foundation visited Vann and were overjoyed to see the transformation in her life. Vann attends school, loves riding her bike and playing with her friends. Most importantly, Vann has a little brother whom she adores.

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Children Eye Health