Some children are born with small white dots in their eyes. This causes blindness and can be treated.
This is what the world looks like for a person who has a cataract. This is because the black part (pupil) becomes cloudy and does not allow enough light to come into the eye. An operation can help to clean the cloudiness so that the person can see clearly again. It is like removing the paper from in front of your eyes. The cloudy lens is removed from the eye. In some operations, a new lens is put in the eye. If a lens is not put into the eye, the person is given spectacles to wear. Not all babies and young children who have cataracts have a white spot, but they can still have cataracts or other vision problems. By four months old, most babies will start to look around or track movement. Both eyes should be looking in the same direction. Check that the baby is doing this, and if not, the baby needs to be checked by a health worker.
One day, when Abu was four years old, he was playing in the courtyard. It was a sunny day. His mother noticed that he was bumping into things. When she threw a ball to him, he could not catch it. Abu was unhappy. His mother hugged him and wiped the tears off her son’s face. While Abu was gazing at his mother’s eyes, his mother noticed that the pupil in one of Abu’s eyes was not black, but white. Abu’s mother thought it was due to crying, and she tried to wipe it away, but the white colour did not go away. Without waiting for her husband to return from the market, she took her son to the Health Clinic. The health worker told her that Abu had a cataract and that an operation would cure him, but they must take him to the hospital. When she told her husband, he could not believe it, “I thought that only old people suffer from cataract!”. They were afraid, but they agreed to the operation. It was this operation that gave Abu his sight. He can now catch a ball and laughs and plays with his friends.