Ashita suffers from diabetic retinopathy- more commonly known as diabetes eye disease. Unlike cataracts and some other eye problems we treat - the damage caused by the disease can be irreversible.
When we first met her in a diabetes eye clinic in Fiji, she was in tears. This quiet 25-year old, recently working as a customs officer, was exhausted and in considerable discomfort. Tears ran down her cheeks. Her Mum tried to console her, but there was very little she could do. Ashita had just received her first treatment for diabetes eye disease. This is an injection into her eyes, which needs to be carried out regularly for the rest of her life to stop her from losing any more of her sight.
Sadly when we first saw Ashita, her sight had degenerated to the point of blurry shapes. This is how, with treatment, it will remain for the rest of her life. Now unable to work, Ashita lives at home with her Mum, who also has diabetes. Looking after Ashita prevents her from working, too, which makes it especially difficult for the family to afford the $20 bus journey each way for Ashita to get to her treatments.
Unfortunately, as the COVID-19 pandemic spiralled the globe, Fiji went into lockdown. The state of emergency meant the only eye care available was for emergency cases. Ashita's sight can never be restored. The only thing we can do is try to slow the continuing decline.
Ashita was not diagnosed early. The consequences are plain to see. Please help us continue to do all we can for Ashita and the thousands like her facing permanent blindness.