Campaign to Reduce Preventable Blindness. The University of Pretoria’s Vision 2020 Eye Care Clinic housed at Pretoria West Hospital, offers treatment and sight-restoring surgery at no cost to needy patients. This is for patients suffering from cataract, glaucoma or diabetes-related eyesight complications. Since its establishment in 2006, the clinic has restored the sight of thousands of patients who would never have been able to afford the surgery, nor be able to ever see again. Skilled medical staff and a surgical theatre are in place to deliver more than 1 000 free, sight-restoring operations every year to people without the means.
Campaign to Reduce Preventable Blindness, Vision 2020, aims to reduce preventable and avoidable blindness and impairment of vision. Part of the Vision 2020 campaign is to target the cataract operations. Since 1997, the public sector has conducted over 500 000 cataract surgeries. They are looking to increase this number dramatically. People are advised to go to their nearest clinics to be screened so that they can be referred to the hospitals if necessary. Deputy Minister Ramokgopa clarified that anyone with cataracts is welcome to undergo the operation, rich or poor. The Health department’s commitment is to ensure that no one is denied their constitutional right to health, as stated in Section 27 of the Constitution of South Africa.
VISION 2020 is a global initiative that aims to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. An estimated 180 million people worldwide are visually disabled, according to the World Health Organisation. These numbers are expected to double by 2020. However, many of these could have their vision restored by surgery, such as cataract removal.