Platini | The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ


Platini was born with cataracts. His cataracts were becoming dense, stealing what little sight he had, and with it, his childhood and his future.

By the age of eight he could only see as far as one metre away. He could no longer read easily or see the blackboard, and was quickly falling behind his classmates.

But this little boy did not need to be blind.

Kiwi eye surgeon Fred Hollows knew this, which is why he fought to make the eye care so easily accessible to us in New Zealand available to those in developing countries.

Platini’s parents took him to have his eyes examined at a recent Fred Hollows Foundation outreach in the Solomon Islands. The little boy was very shy and timid, sticking close to his mother’s side.

Thanks to supporters like you, The Fred Hollows Foundation can treat cataracts and give children like Platini a chance at a future.

Platini was afraid

Platini was admitted to a hospital ward along with two little girls who had vision threatening eye injuries. Platini was terrified to have surgery and kept telling his mum he didn’t want to go to hospital. His father was scared about the surgery too, having left his own eye issues untreated out of fear. It is likely that his father’s fear prevented Platini from being treated during an earlier outreach.

Unlike cataract surgery in adults, children require more specialised surgery performed under general anaesthetic. Platini’s surgery was performed by Dr Claude Posala, an ophthalmologist trained at the Pacific Eye Institute in Fiji, an initiative of The Fred Hollows Foundation. Dr Claude will return home to the Solomon Islands at the end of the year to help reach more people in need of sight-restoring surgery.

In the developing world, serious eye problems in children threaten their prospects in life. There are little to no special resources or adaptive services like we have in New Zealand.  Poor vision and blindness in childhood means that children can’t fully participate in daily life. This greatly impacts their education, personal development and future economic productivity. 

The day after his surgery, Platini’s parents and the team waited anxiously as his bandage was removed. Platini’s eye was uncomfortable and he tried to scratch it while the nurse cleaned it. But when he could fully open his eye the transformation was incredible. 

Platini did a double take when he realised he could see his mum’s face.

The little boy began to smile and laugh, exclaiming “I can see now!” He began to stare at his fingers, carefully examining each one.

That precious moment when a child can see his mother again is what your gift will help achieve. Another child or adult will be brought back into the world of light and colour, out of the isolating blindness in which they lived before.

Platini’s vision was tested shortly afterwards and the waiting patients all cheered as he correctly identified symbols on the chart. The moment a person’s sight is restored is always a special one, but the moment a child’s sight is restored is a truly spectacular moment.

When children have their sight restored their lives open up before them. They have the opportunity to be children, to go to school, to enjoy their families and to be independent.

Without cataract surgery it would have just been a matter of time until Platini lost his sight completely. It’s only because of the kindness of supporters like you that the lives of Platini and his family are forever changed, and for this we are very grateful.

Thank you so much for caring. Together we are making a difference.

What we can do

Help keep Fred’s dream alive.

4 out of 5 people who are blind in the developing world don't need to be. Routine treatment costing as little as $25 can restore sight and hope.

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