A cataract is a medical condition that clouds the normally clear lens of the eyes. Patients usually experience cloudy vision in mild cases and in more severe case‚ loss of vision.
On Wednesday‚ the department lambasted the DA for its remarks on the issue‚ saying it was “designed to mislead and confuse the public and create unnecessary alarm”.
“Although there are challenges with the shortage of staff that is competent in the performance of this type of surgery‚ the department is doing its best to attract and retain more ophthalmologists‚ optometrists and specialist nurses trained in ophthalmology
“In some instances‚ due to the high demand for this service‚ machinery does break down. In such cases‚ the machinery is repaired or‚ where feasible‚ replaced.
“There are currently only five machines that are dysfunctional‚ and that these are in the process of either being repaired or replaced‚” the department said in response to SowetanLIVE questions.
It added that to help mitigate the impact of the challenges it faced it worked closely with NGO’s like the Eskom Health Bus‚ Brien Holden Vision Institute‚ Zimbali Rotary Club and Al-Imdaad Foundation.
“The department is also in the process of having memorandum of understanding with private health facilities such as Mediclinic‚ Midland Medical Centre‚ Daymed Hospital‚ Life Hilton Private Hospital.
“From the start of the 2016/2017 financial year to date‚ no fewer than 6‚616 cataract surgeries have been conducted throughout KwaZulu-Natal‚at 11 district hospitals – including the department’s flagship McCord Provincial Eye Hospital‚” the department said.