Turkish surgeons restore sight to 420 Ethiopians

By Addis Getachew and Tufan Aktas

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) – A Turkish charity has given new hope to some residents of Gelemso town in eastern Ethiopia by bringing in ophthalmic surgeons who have helped hundreds of them see again.

“All 420 cataract patients have now regained full sight,” Haci Dursun Tunc, a member of the Sadakatasi Association’s board of directors, told Anadolu Agency.

“The association has conducted operations on patients in different parts of Africa and Asia, where a great number of people suffer from cataracts due to a lack of hygiene and other infections,” Tunc said.

He said the cataract operations have been conducted in cooperation with Gelemso Hospital, where many people, especially farmer families, needed the service.

The Turkish team of surgeons under the association have been providing cataract surgery services for free in Ethiopia, Pakistan and Somali, Tunc said.

“We operated on 700 cataract patients in Ethiopia before the latest ones.

“Words cannot express my happiness to see people blinded due to preventable causes see the world again,” he added.

The town of Gelemso is located in the Western Hararghe Zone of Oromia regional state. Ahmed Mohammed, head of the Western Hararghe Zone Health Bureau, who visited Gelemso Hospital, said he was very grateful and wanted to carry out joint projects in the near future with the association.

The Sadakatasi Association was established in 2010 and strives to help the needy in poor countries.

According to the World Health Organization, cataracts cause a third of worldwide blindness, affecting approximately 12.6 million people. Cataracts additionally cause moderate to severe vision loss in 52.6 million people, 99% of whom live in developing countries.

In 2016, Turkish Airlines sponsored a team of Turkish surgeons to provide cataract surgery services to more than 1,000 Ethiopians in a weeklong program conducted at the Menelik II Hospital in the capital, Addis Ababa.

New technological lenses offer solution to cataract

By Jeyhun Aliyev

ANKARA (AA) – The newly developed trifocal intraocular lenses offer people solution for both cataracts and eye defects, according to a Netherlands-based biotechnology firm on Tuesday.

Ozge Altunbas Gokteki̇n, CEO of VSY Biotechnology, told Anadolu Agency that new technological trifocal intraocular lenses can also fix the eyesight defects of short-sighted and long-sighted people, as well as those suffering from presbyopia.

"Eyesight is enhanced through technological developments," Gokteki̇n said.

The "smart lenses" were developed at the firm's research and development center in Istanbul with the approval of Turkey's Industry and Technology Ministry.

She also said that with the social awareness of new solutions, cataracts will be treated and the need for eyeglasses will be eliminated.

Gokteki̇n noted that the trifocal intraocular lenses were developed through accelerated research and development, as well as production development activities.

“Cataracts are characterized by a loss of clear vision after the natural crystalline lens behind the pupil loses its transparency and becomes opaque," Gokteki̇n said.

The prevailing reason for cataracts — also described as "cloudy vision" — is old age, however, certain conditions such as eye trauma, diabetes, high eye pressure, and uveitis may also cause the disease, she noted.

Gokteki̇n also said that the solution for cataracts is to remove the natural lens by surgical methods and replace it with an intraocular lens.

"Now, trifocal intraocular lenses can enable patients to see at all distances and can also treat astigmatism," she said.

Gokteki̇n added that the product will also contribute to the economy.

According to the company, VSY Biotechnology serves more than 60 countries around the globe, while its product range includes intraocular lenses, viscoelastic, cartridge and injector systems, as well as high molecular weight hyaluronic acid intra-articular injections used in orthopedics.