This programme aims to help cure the one of the most widespread conditions associated with old age – cataracts. Place of implementation: Ivanovo Region
Participants: people older than 60, resident in Ivanovo Region (excluding the regional centre – the city of Ivanovo).
Cataracts are one of the most common and serious illnesses affecting the elderly, and can cause progressive blindness, as a result of which a person becomes dependent on others for help and support.
Cataract is an ophthalmic disease, associated with clouding of the eye’s lens and causing various states of impaired vision. The most common symptom of cataract is short-sightedness; sharpness of vision constantly deteriorates and people with cataracts often have to change their glasses. Patients may complain of reduced sensitivity to light, "loss of colour", or, conversely, of intolerance to bright light. Sufferers often experience double vision. The only way of getting rid of a cataract is to replace the clouded lens with an artificial one via micro-surgery. Cataract removal is a modern operation requiring high-tech equipment and quality materials.
In Russia, such operations have long been available to urban dwellers, where there are modern medical centres; however, many rural people suffer from the complaint for years without the possibility of travelling to the regional capital for diagnosis and treatment.
The Foundation is attempting to improve older people’s quality of life by returning their sight and, therefore, the possibility of a full, independent and dignified existence. Ladoga’s partner is the Svetodar clinic in Ivanovo, which is licensed to perform high-tech cataract operations and has all the necessary equipment. Since April 2012, Ladoga has been working directly with the clinic.
For the convenience of patients, the number of formalities which had to be completed for the operation to take place was kept to a minimum. A huge advantage of working with the clinic is the mobility of its staff. Mobile teams travel to remote districts of the region several times per week, where they hold consultations and make diagnoses at local district hospitals or at rural medical and obstetric centres. This is where Svetodar’s specialists complete all the paperwork required to perform an operation.
It is important to note that the Foundation pays to transport the patients to the place of treatment and back. This enables visually impaired elderly people even from the remotest corners of Ivanovo Region to receive qualified medical assistance.
The patients’ improved eyesight is accompanied by a better quality of life. They notice a better mood, better overall well-being and, what is particularly important, they once again feel themselves to be independent and fully valued members of society. They experience a positive change in attitude towards themselves and others. According to surveys of patients who have undergone the operation, most of them were prepared to engage actively in public life.