Cataracts don't only affect the elderly

Cataracts don't only affect the elderly

Photo of Beaux Oosthuisen swinging around a pole

Did you know that some babies are born with cataracts, or a clouding of the eye’s lens? This is called congenital cataracts – and all three of the Oosthuizen boys, from Pretoria, were born with this condition. Fortunately, because their mother was also born with it, doctors picked it up early, and the boys had surgery when they were only two months old.

Without such early intervention, congenital cataracts cause “lazy eye”, a condition which can lead to other problems such as involuntary eye movements, crossed eyes and an inability to fix one’s gaze upon objects. Such problems can profoundly impact learning ability, personality and even appearance, which ultimately affects a child’s entire life.

When they were 10 months old, the boys received lens implants. But because their eyes are still growing, the lenses can’t work optimally, and the boys have to wear tinted multi-focal glasses to assist their vision. You can imagine the cost of buying all three boys specialised glasses every year. That’s why Mrs Oosthuizen contacted us. She knew she couldn’t put a price to her sons’ vision, even though she couldn’t afford the cost of the spectacles.

Thanks to the support of sponsors like you, we were able to open the doors of our specialised services to assist this energetic family. At our low vision clinic, the boys and their mother were properly screened and evaluated by a low vision specialist and optometrist. We discovered Mrs Oosthuizen was still using a scratched, 20-year-old magnifier she was given when she was at school!

We’ll do everything in our power to assist these intelligent boys to reach their full potential. They all attend Prinshof School for visually impaired children and lead full and busy lives. The two elder boys, Dune (13) and Vaughn (11), want to become computer programmers when they finish school, while Beaux (9) is enjoying life too much to think so far ahead. A full, bright future awaits these young boys because you’ve helped create specialised services at Council that they can rely on.

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