Omari’s father realised his son needed help when the 7 year-old said to him: “Daddy, I have clouds in my eyes”.
He had suspected for a few months that Omari had problems seeing. The boy would cover his eyes in the sun, and found it hard to recognise letters on the blackboard. And the situation was getting worse, as Omari explained:
“I can somehow see the blackboard at school, but not the letters written on it. I often fall when playing football. I can't see all the obstacles in my way and frequently run into something, that hurts a lot. And it is not nice when other children laugh at me.”
Omari was going blind. His father worried desperately about his future. How would he cope without his sight? An estimated 90% of children with disabilities in developing countries do not go to school. Without education and isolated from their communities they are unlikely to find a job or be able to earn a living.
The clouds in Omari’s eyes were cataracts, where the lens in the eye becomes cloudy. It’s the most common cause of sight loss, leading to around half of the world’s blindness. And yet in nearly all cases, cataracts can be treated easily with simple surgery.
When Omari’s father noticed white spots had developed in his son’s eyes, he remembered seeing the same in his own father’s eyes. Omari’s grandfather had been treated for cataracts at CBM’s partner hospital in Dar es Salaam.
Thankfully, Omari’s father got him to our partner hospital just in time. Under general anaesthetic, a surgeon removed the cataracts in both of Omari’s eyes.
The following morning, when the bandages were removed, doctors examined Omari’s eyes. The surgery had gone well and he can now identify letters on a chart. He will need follow up appointments and glasses, but life will be much easier for him now. His father is overjoyed and so is Omari: “I can see much better Daddy, the clouds are gone.”
Omari thinks he’d like to be a truck driver when he grows up, so he can travel and see different places. But for now he’d just like to get back to school and be able to learn and play football again. “Yes, I look forward to going back to school”, he says.