Satesh | The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ


Seven-year-old Satesh was born with cataracts in both eyes and was nearly blind.

Seven-year-old Satesh was born with cataracts in both eyes and was nearly blind.

Seven-year-old Satesh lives in Labasa, Fiji. He was born with cataracts in both eyes. Sadly, the doctors diagnosed him with an eye infection and sent home with eye drops. His mother explained that his blurred vision has prevented him from attending school or making any friends.

Dr Roger Dethlefs examines Satesh's cataracts.When The Fred Hollows Foundation outreach team met Satesh late last year he could barely see. Born with cataracts in both eyes, his eyesight had slowly deteriorated until he was almost completely blind.

His mother explained that his blurred vision had prevented him from having a normal childhood; he had not been able to attend school or make any friends. A shy little boy, he clung to his parents and hardly said a word.

Satesh was born four weeks premature and spent the first six weeks of his life in an incubator, reliant on an oxygen machine to keep him alive. Sadly, his cataracts went undetected. He was diagnosed with an eye infection and sent home with eye drops.

The family was desperate to help their young son, so when Satesh's mother heard on the radio that a surgical team from the Pacific Eye Institute in Suva was visiting, she immediately made an appointment to have his eyes checked.

Eye tests confirmed cataracts in both eyes and Satesh was booked in for surgery the next day.

A brave young boy

Satesh is prepped for surgery and waiting to go in to the operating theatre.Satesh was incredibly brave and waited quietly for his surgery. His father accompanied him into the pre-op room and watched anxiously as his son was put to sleep so he wouldn't move during the delicate operation. With tears in his eyes he went outside to wait in the corridor with his wife and daughter.

Satesh's surgery went smoothly but his small body was knocked around by the anesthetic. He was moved to the children's ward and his mother spent a sleepless night lying next to him, giving him water and small amounts of food.

The next morning his family waited nervously for his bandage to be removed.

"I can see!"

The nurse gently removed the patch covering his left eye. The first thing Satesh said was "I can see!" Beaming from ear to ear he sat up in his bed and put on a pair of dark glasses to protect his eye from the bright lights.

A few minutes later he was taken down to the eye clinic to find out just how successful his surgery had been. It's vital for children to have their cataracts removed as soon as possible. If they are left too long their brains will never develop the ability to see.

The surgeon from The Fred Hollows Foundation team told his parents that his sight had significantly improved. But sadly, because he had lived with the cataracts for so long, his vision will never be as clear as it could have been. Yet, despite this, the surgery has transformed the lives of this little boy and his family.

Satesh will now be able to go to school and make new friends.Thank you for helping us give little Satesh a second chance at his childhood, and real hope for the future.

Today, cataract surgery takes just 20 minutes and can cost as little as $25. If you take a moment now to send in a special gift, others like Satesh will see again.

The generous support of donors like you has allowed us to restore sight to thousands of people across the Pacific and train desperately needed eye doctors and nurses. But there are still far too many people like Satesh who urgently need cataract surgery.

Your donation can help us perform many more miracles.

All images courtesy of Jenna Todd.

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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