Aging is a fact of life. Hair greys, limbs stiffen, skin wrinkles. We don’t like it, but we generally accept it. But you may be surprised to learn: your fate does not necessarily have to include blindness due to cataract!
Let me tell you about Papa Kojo, an 82-year old farmer who has lived almost his entire life in the village of Gomoa Brofoyeduru, located in the Central region of Ghana. He grows cassava, groundnuts, plantains and beans to survive.
Papa Kojo started losing his sight 10 years ago. “Everything started becoming cloudy. I finally accepted the fact that as you grow older, you become blind. It is common in my community, and many people my age complain of the same problem.”
While he may have accepted his situation, Papa Kojo found life becoming more difficult as his sight degenerated.
“In the past two years, I had to be led everywhere. It was difficult for me, since I had to depend on others to get things done and even help me go out. I was devastated. My hair and beard grew so tall and bushy that children used to run away in fear anytime they saw me. I thought I was going to die from my blindness.”
However, Papa Kojo noticed that there were other people, older than he, in his village who were not blind. When he asked a local health worker about them, he learned they had cataract operations to restore their sight. “I was not convinced until I met a neighbour who was in the same condition as me and who recovered after visiting the eye hospital.”
Finally, he put his skepticism aside, and agreed to let his daughter lead him from Gomoa Brofoyeduru to a nearby Operation Eyesight-supported hospital, Watborg Eye Services. There, cataract operations were performed on both eyes. Despite his age, his vision had returned!
Today, Papa Kojo is able to see very well – in fact, he says his sight is even better than it was before. He and his family are very grateful to Operation Eyesight’s donors for bringing his eyesight back to him. He enjoys farming again, and says his goal is to be the best farmer in his village. He is a living testament to the fact that advanced age does not have to result in blindness.
“I can see clearly now! I feel good as I do not need to depend on people to get things done or move around. I say thank you, and God bless you for giving me my life back.”
Learn more about cataracts here. And no matter how old you are, be sure to visit a professional for regular eye exams. Remember, age-related aches and pains may come and go, but cataracts don’t have to happen to you!