According to WHO definition: "Cataract is clouding of the lens of the eye which impedes the passage of light. Although most cases of cataract are related to the aging process, occasionally children can be born with the condition, or a cataract may develop after eye injuries, inflammation, and some other eye diseases."


Cataract is the single most important cause of blindness, and cataract surgery has been shown by the world bank to be one of the most cost-effective health-care interventions.  Most cataracts cannot be prevented, but cataract surgery is highly effective.  It results in almost immediate visual restoration and carries a very low rate of complication.  We just love the amazing reactions when we remove the patients' eye pads the day after the operation and they can see again for the first time.  The joy, the excitement and the sense of freedom are simply indescribable!  In the words of one of our former patients who became blind in his 20s, 'Look... I can see colours... I can see people... I can see EVERYTHING!  It is a whole new world!'


We operated on about 1000 cases a year when we headed a non-profit eye project in Gabon, a country whose demographics are very similar to Congo.  As Congo has never had any eye centre with surgical facilities before, we estimate that the demands in Congo will be even higher.  In Gabon, we were able to charge the patients 50 pounds for 1 eye.   We do not know of anyone who would not give 50 pounds in order to see again if they were blind!  Having said that though, 50 pounds can be an insurmountable amount of money for some people in Congo, especially if they cannot work due to visual disability.  As long as we are able to raise enough funds to lower the costs of the operation to an affordable level for the public, we estimate that we should be able to accomplish around 700 cases in the first year, and more in the years to come.   Cataract surgery will form the bulk of our work in the eye clinic.


Our long term goals also involve reaching our to remote communities for cataract screening and correction.  Many who are blind from cataracts have no idea that they can see again through a simple operation.  Imagine being the good news bearer!  Imagine better still when they can see again!