It is already getting hotter here in Varanasi and the danger of infection for the eye cataract patients increases exponentially with the increase in the temperature. Infection is the single greatest factor in an unsuccessful cataract procedure. The patients get sweat in their eyes and they forget that the ophthalmologists told them not to touch the eyes at any time. It is for this reason that they are given heavy, dark sunglasses and that they are told to keep on all the time. It is not so much for the light sensitivity as it is for the villagers to remember not to touch their eyes for 6 weeks after surgery. The glasses protect them from their grandchildren sitting on their laps and mischievously touching their eyes, from accidentally banging their heads, and many other unexpected mishaps. The failure rate on the cataract surgeries is only 1 in 100, but that one person will lose that eye.
On Sunday, February 16th, the camp is held in the morning and early afternoon. There is a break, and then the operations start at 4 pm. This particular camp draws 60 patients and their families to the hospital. Of those 60 patients, 17 are selected for the operations that will happen in the afternoon and go late into the night. The cataract and refractive surgeons, who donate their time and services to this program, work all day and it is 10pm before they finish the last surgery. The camp administrators feed them and then drive them home, some of them not reaching their own families in Varanasi until after midnight. On February 17, those who received surgery at a previous camp receive an eye checkup exam and are then discharged.
The 2013-2014 Sai Maa Cataract program has once again yielded superior results. The villagers are supporting these programs in record numbers, whereas they do not show up for the government sponsored programs. The results speak for themselves: 100 out of 100 surgeries were successful again this year! Sai Maa Vishnu Shakti Trust thanks the Vivekanand Mission Hospital for their excellent program administration. This program would not be possible if it was not for its administrator, Swami Shradhanand and his 20+ years of experience in promoting these types of programs in Uttar Pradesh. And supreme gratitude to the Sai Maa global community for continuing to support these types of humanitarian programs here in India. Take one moment and think about the impact that one cataract surgery has on each family. Now multiply that by 100. And think about the impact that we can have in the future.