By Dr Will Dean

May 1st 2011

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Mary from Mangotchi

Categories: Blindness, Cataract

Mary is young and had been at school until just over a year ago. Now she is totally blind. The brittle undiagnosed Diabetes had metabolically robbed her of her sight in a matter of months. Her sugar was so high when she came to Nkhoma, we had to spend 2 weeks controlling it even before it was safe to think of operating.

Mary with white diabetic cataracts - Photo: Roger Loguarro

With the help of the doctors in the general hospital, she did extremely well. She felt much better, less tired, but was still blind. Eventually after 12 days it was her time for surgery.

I felt very sorry for Mary, as she is so young and was doing well at school until relatively quickly her sight was lost. She can barely move around now, and constantly needs help. Of course school has been out of the question for her for the past year.

I don’t really see that many people with Diabetes in Malawi.

Meeting Mary on the waiting line

I was a bit scared when operating, as I wan’t sure how far advanced the diabetes in the eye was, but after the first operation all was well.

Half way there, and happy

In the end a small miracle happened. I was scared that the diabetes had not only resulted in cataracts, but had also affected the retina. The surgery went very well, the Nkhoma team were awesome in their care, and Mary’s sight was totally restored. I will try and visit her in her village near the south Lake Malawi lakeshore later this year, and we are helping her with her diabetic medications so she should be back at the hospital in a month or so for a check up as well.

I felt so thankful that Mary had found us, and we’d been able to help. I really hope that her life carries on in the way she planned. She was so excited to head home and celebrate.

Mary, ready to take go home to Lake Malawi, 3 hours drive away

I said goodbye to Mary on a Tuesday, and she travelled home with the Nkhoma ambulance early the next morning. I’ll tell you, and I am so happy for her!

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