Western Cape Health Minister to Attend a Sixteen Cataract Operation Marathon in Beaufort West
On Monday, 29 November, Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha will visit Beaufort West hospital where a sixteen (16) cataract operation marathon will take place on people from Beaufort West, Nelspoort, Murraysburg, Merweville, Laingsburg and Prince Albert.
Surgical, pharmaceutical and consumer vision care company, Alcon, is sponsoring the lenses and phaco-packs for the operations.
The operations are in line with the Eye Care Services Strategy of the Western Cape Department of Health. The strategy is based on the Vision 2020 strategy which aims to eliminate avoidable blindness by 2020.
The state Anecdotal for the region is Dr. Nicolaas Stempels who performs cataract surgeries at George and Oudtshoorn Hospitals, and also does outreaches to the Central Karoo.
The procedure involves removing the eye-lens and replacing it with an artificial implant lens. Depending on the type of cataract, a small sutureless incision is done with phaco-emulsification of the lens nucleus and an implant of an Acrylic foldable lens, or a somewhat bigger incision - to be sutured - where the nucleus is expressed whole and a non-foldable plexiglass lens is implanted.
Congenital and juvenile cataracts aside, the major cause of cataracts are ageing. The patho-physiology is basically degeneration, sclerosis and /or loss of cohesion of the lens fibers. However, some conditions such as diabetes, atopia, trauma, some medications such as steroids, and intraocular inflammation can precipitate it.
A major challenge in the implementation of the Eye Care Services Strategy is the shortage of theatre nurses which limits the number of cataract extractions being done in the district. Sister Sanna Makok is the Central Karoo's travelling eye nurse. She is the only ophthalmic trained nurse in the district and covers vast areas. She does outreaches to primary health care facilities, and trains nursing staff to assess eye conditions. Against the background of the great need in this area, a principle decision has been taken to identify at least two (2) nurses to receive further ophthalmology training in the course of next year.
Western Cape Minister of Health