The ORBIS Pediatric Eye Care Center offers specialized treatment and surgery for blinding conditions that are common in South African children, such as pediatric congenital cataract, glaucoma and retinoblastoma. It is housed within Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital and serves the 3.5 million children in the KZN, which is among the poorest provinces in South Africa, and where an estimate 26% of the country’s blind children live.
‘These services are no luxury, they are very important because children’s eyes differ significantly from adults and require timely, specialized procedures, equipment and follow ups to ensure the best possible visual outcomes.’ Explains Dr Dharmesh Parbhoo, the consultant ophthalmologist heading up the clinical work at the Pediatric Eye Care Centre in Durban.
The program targets children under the ages of six, before school going age, where early detection combined with a high quality medical service and follow up will save the sight of thousands of children a year.
Funding for the first year of the program was secured via many generous donations from trusts and foundations as well as through the Tom Knight Appeal - a gala dinner held in London to honor one of ORBIS's founding trustees, Tom Knight.
Specialized services for children in Africa and South Africa are extremely rare, this is why ORBIS has made a commitment to develop 10 Pediatric Eye Care Centers in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa over the next 10 years. This centre is the second after the Pedicatric Eye Care Centre in Kitwe, Zambia.