In conjunction with World Sight Day 2021, VISTA Eye Specialist (VISTA) is continuing to support the fight towards eliminating preventable blindness by pledging to provide 100 Charity Cataract surgeries via a joint community service project with Tzu Chi Malaysia in improving the quality of life of the affected individuals and their families.
This project aims to provide cataract surgery for the needy and underprivileged that may require surgical intervention. After a primary background screening by Tzu Chi, the selected individuals will then go through comprehensive eye examinations by VISTA, followed by surgery to remove the cataract. Follow up visits were arranged days after the surgery to track the progress and recovery of their vision.
The 3-month long VISTA x Tzu Chi’s ‘100 Charity Cataract Surgery Project’ was launched in an online ceremony in early September and started with a total of 27 eyes operated as the first batch of surgeries on 13th September 2021 at VISTA’s Petaling Jaya – The Curve, Puchong, and Cheras branches, supported by 8 ophthalmologists and over 40 staff members.
Cataracts, a blurring of the natural lens in the eyes, affects the vision and is due to aging, excessive exposure to UV rays, use of steroids, and diabetes, among others. If surgery – the only effective way of removing cataracts – is not done in time, it may lead to severe vision loss. Data from the latest National Eye Survey (NESII) conducted in 2018 shows that untreated cataracts (58.6%) still remained the leading cause of blindness in Malaysia.
“Cataract does not discriminate by race or sex, and definitely not income. That is why it is important to treat cataracts by performing surgery as early as possible – to restore eyesight, quality of life and the ability to work for a living,” comments Dr. Paul Lim, leading VISTA Ophthalmologist in this community project.
“We are pleased to team up with VISTA in the fight against one of the leading causes of vision impairment and preventable blindness in Malaysia. By leveraging on VISTA and its specialties, we aim to help people with cataracts from the lower-income groups and the underprivileged,” said Mr. Sio Kee Hong, Deputy CEO of Tzu Chi Malaysia KL Selangor Chapter who adds, “Tzu Chi is committed to providing relief to those in suffering and be the beacon of hope in times of need.”
Ms. Chloe Wong, VISTA’s Chief Marketing Officer, echoes the same sentiment, “In line with VISTA’s vision to safely help people to see their best and changing lives, we are truly honored to join arms with Tzu Chi Malaysia in reaching out to the needy. So in VISTA, we have made it our priority to empower people from all walks of life by bringing their eyesight from blur to clear.”
“Regardless of the situation, or even if we are facing a COVID-19 pandemic, cataract is still going to hit us. As an eye surgeon, we want to do what we can to contribute and help the needy with poor eyesight and improve their vision so that they can fend for themselves, be able to stand on their feet and contribute to their families as well as the society. It is even more important, especially during this pandemic,” said Dr. Aloysius Joseph Low, VISTA’s Chief Ophthalmologist.
Besides this project, both VISTA and Tzu Chi Malaysia have also embarked on many other community projects. For VISTA, this includes donations to food banks, supporting local small businesses by organizing group buys, organizing garage sales to raise funds for donating to homes, and more.
“During these difficult times, it is important to continue spreading gratitude, positive vibes, and kindness – If we are kind and polite the world will be right,” adds Chloe Wong.