Sightsavers Reports

“Life was very difficult before, but now I’ll have a new life!”

February 2019
Poligarpo smiles after returning home following his cataract operation.

Poligarpo’s eyesight started to deteriorate in early 2018, and when we met him he’d been totally blind for at least a month.

Poligarpo is 71, and has six children – three sons and three daughters. He lives in Mozambique, in an area called Ribáuè, in the north-east of the country, where he used to farm to earn a living. But after starting to lose his sight he had to give up work, leaving him with no way to support his family.

He’d lost his independence and was unable to get around by himself: he relied on his family to lead him around by holding onto a stick.

Poligarpo's nephew uses a stick to guide him around the village.

His friend Carlos said he heard from other people in the community that Sightsavers were offering eye examinations and operations, so when the eye care team visited he told Poligarpo to go along.

They examined his eyes, diagnosed him with cataracts in both eyes and referred him to the hospital for sight-saving surgery.


An eye health worker shines a light into Poligarpo's eyes to check for cataracts.

On the day of his operation, Poligarpo was upbeat when asked how his life might be different after treatment. “I am not too ambitious,” he said. “I would just like to see the mountains again!

“I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends and walking without support by myself. Before, I was facing difficulty to do things but now I will have a new life.”

After the operation, we spoke to Poligarpo before he had his bandages removed. “I was not afraid during the operation,” he said. “I felt at peace – I had a good, peaceful feeling. I am happy to have had this done.”

Poligarpo with an eye patch over his eye after his cataract operation.

Later the same day, after having his dressings removed, Poligarpo was able to go home to his family. Smiling, he showed us to his grand-nephew’s home, where he was to stay for a few days during his recovery.

He walked ahead unaided, holding the stick that he used to rely on casually in one hand – he no longer needed it. When we reached the house, he threw the stick aside and his family laughed and clapped in delight.

“I can see you! I can see all of you!” he exclaimed. “And I can see the children. Thank you.”

“I was not afraid during the operation. I am happy to have had this done.”

Our mission is to prevent avoidable blindness

Sightsavers and eye health

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