Samsung South Africa has donated screening and treatment equipment to the Vredendal Hospital Eye Care Centre, a new eye care treatment centre that has opened in the Western Cape.

The new Eye Care Centre will provide eye treatment to hundreds of patients who previously had to travel over three hours to Paarl or Cape Town for treatment.

Due to huge demand at the facilities in Paarl and Cape Town, patients in Vredendal found themselves waiting months or even years for treatment in the past.

The new Eye Care Centre, which opened its doors earlier this year, performed its first cataract surgery in July is already screening and treating between 150 – 200 patients a month.

The clinic is staffed by a trained Ophthalmic Nurse Specialist and since July 2016 an ophthalmologist in the private sector, Dr Junet van der Merwe, visits the centre once a month for specialised consultations, surgeries and surgical follow-ups.

According to the Western Cape Department of Health, the burden of disease recorded among patients from the surrounding Cederberg and Matzikama districts since the centre opened include cataracts, refractive errors, childhood blindness, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Cataracts caused by ageing or trauma account for many of the eye problems in the region.

“It is exciting to know that this community will for the first time ever have access to specialised equipment and a comprehensive ophthalmic service, including cataract surgery,” said Ophthalmic Nurse at  Vredendal Hospital Eye Care Clinic, Sister Elizma Anthonissen.

“Our patient numbers are growing by the day – we could not have predicted how badly this service was necessary,” continued Sister Anthonissen.

The services delivered by the new centre will have an impact far beyond individual patients, says Head of Corporate Citizenship & Government Relations: Africa at Samsung, Pitso Kekana.

“We see healthcare, education, vocational skills development and small business enablement as crucial pillars of sound economies and better lives for citizens. As such, all of our corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are focused on these key areas,” said Kekana.

“Across South Africa and the African continent as a whole, Samsung has stepped up its initiatives to enable better healthcare, education, skills development and business development, using our expert skills and advanced technologies to open new doors to a better life for all,” concluded Kekana.

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