Miss Fiona Dean recently returned from a trip to Cameroon as an Orbis medical volunteer. She emailed our supporters about her experiences there, training medical personnel and treating people with avoidable blindness.

When Miss Fiona Dean got back from her week in Cameroon with Orbis and the Flying Eye Hospital, she couldn’t wait to email Orbis supporters and let them know some of the things she had seen and done during her time there.  

Miss Dean’s particular focus on this trip was on training local eye specialists in surgical techniques, especially around the removal of cataracts. Cameroon has the fifth highest prevalence of blindness in the world, with an estimated 150,000 blind people. Half of those people are blind due to cataracts – many of them are children.  

When treating cataracts, as with many causes of avoidable blindness, every minute matters. The longer a cataract stays in someone’s eye, the lower the chance of them ever recovering their sight even after the cataract is removed.

That’s why it was imperative for Miss Dean to train local surgical staff in the most effective, up-to-date techniques.

She worked closely with several people, including Cameroon’s first ever Paediatric Ophthalmologist – a man named Dr Ted Afetane

'Dr Ted', as he is known, is also planning to send an email to Orbis supporters, explaining the vital, transformative work he does with his young patients and the huge impact on him – and on them – of the training he received from the Orbis team.  

At Orbis we love to share updates on what we are doing, letting people know how important their support is and telling stories of the lives that are changed by their generosity.  

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In a world with so much bad news, it’s nice to open your inbox and find these reminders, from people like Miss Dean, that good things are also happening – the gift of sight is being given to people in some of the poorest countries who may have been resigned to a life of blindness.  

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