Drop In Virus Cases Allows 700 Cataract Surgeries

The significant reduction in Covid-19 cases has allowed state hospitals in Gauteng to complete more than 700 cataract surgeries in October.

“As part of efforts to reduce waiting times for cataract surgeries, various public hospitals in Gauteng embarked on a cataract marathon campaign for the entire month of October,” revealed the Gauteng Health Department on Wednesday.

“This cataract surgery marathon campaign has seen different hospitals perform a large number of operations in an effort to reduce the waiting times for patients.”

A cataract is a cloudiness of the lens of the eye which occurs in many people as they grow older.

This can also happen in younger people due to diseases.

A cataract surgery is performed to remove the lens of the eye which affects vision.

Among the high-performing hospitals was Kalafong Tertiary Hospital in Pretoria West, which undertook 205 cataract surgeries in two weeks.

The Dr. George Mukhari Academic Hospital, and St. Johns Eye Hospital performed 132, and 124 operations respectively.

In the West Rand, Leratong Hospital performed 105 operations, whereas in the Joburg Health District the Charlotte Maxeke, Johannesburg Academic Hospital undertook 94, and Helen Joseph Hospital performed 64 operations for October.

The department said other hospitals will conduct their cataract marathon surgeries this month.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has considerably affected public hospital’s ability to perform elective (planned) surgeries due to resources being repurposed to fight the pandemic,” explained the department.

“With the drop in the rate of new Covid-19 infection cases and hospital admissions, public hospitals can dedicate resources to other healthcare services.”