Ophthalmic service on the road again
Ophthalmic eye surgeon for the region, Dr. Nicolaas Stempels and his team have been hard at work servicing those who need cataract eye surgery as well as other ophthalmic procedures.
Venessa Cassel (55) from Kranshoek was one of the patients who received a cataract removal at Plettenberg Bay Town Clinic on 26 October 2021.
“I can’t drive due to the cataracts, so I am excited to be here and to get this procedure done”, she said.
Dr Stempels and his team are busy with outreaches across the Garden Route and Central Karoo and have visited George, Knysna, Bitou and Beaufort West.
The pandemic has had a profound effect on ophthalmic services. “I used to do between 1000 and 2000 ophthalmic operations for both the Garden Route and Central Karoo a year. I was only able to do 150 in 2020”, he said.
Cases seen to now are the semi-urgent ones. These include people who are unable to walk unassisted, people with complications, those needing the service to be able to work(drivers) as well as children.
One billion people around the world have a preventable vision impairment or one that has yet to be addressed. Reduced or absent eyesight can have major and long lasting effects on all aspects of life, including daily personal activities, interacting with the community, school and work opportunities and the ability to access public services. Reduced eyesight can be caused by several factors, including diseases like diabetes and trachoma, trauma to the eyes, or condition such as refractive error, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma.
Western Cape Government Health offers a range of ophthalmology services. Primary health care facilities in the Garden Route district have specialized Eye Care Professional Nurses supporting the above team and eye services is rendered offering screening for spectacles.
Principal Communications Officer
Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts
Western Cape Government Health