Kwame Amanfoh is a CEENTA ophthalmic technician who regularly travels to Ghana to provide free eye screenings and glasses to people who could not otherwise afford them. On his most recent trip, he helped restore the vision of a woman whose eyes were seriously damaged by bad glaucoma medicine.
Seven years ago, Ghana resident Gifty Andoh was taking eye drops for glaucoma, for which she had a regular prescription. One day the hospital gave her new eye drops. She was told they were identical to her old drops, just from a different supplier. Tragically, that wasn’t the case. Within 24 hours of using the new drops, Ms. Andoh was blind.
Ms. Andoh went to a number of different clinics but was told nothing could be done.
“She lived for seven years without even seeing her children,” Mr. Amanfoh said.
However, Ms. Andoh met Rick and Diane Wood, two missionaries from New Zealand. From time to time they would bring patients to Mr. Amanfoh’s clinic for vision tests. When they heard about Ms. Andoh, they called him and asked if they could bring her to see him.
Mr. Amanfoh gave Ms. Andoh a visual field test and saw that, while the vision in her left eye was completely gone, she still had tunnel vision in her right eye. He was able to get her a pair of glasses, and her vision was restored.
“She cried the day she could see,” Mr. Amanfoh said.
Mr. Amanfoh said he was told that before she got her glasses Ms. Andoh was absolutely despondent. Now, though, she has a new lease on life and is doing everything by herself.
“She doesn’t need her husband’s or her children’s help cooking or anything,” Mr. Amanfoh said.
Ms. Andoh does have cataracts, however, and Mr. Amanfoh said the next step will be to evaluate them and see if surgery could help improve her vision more.
Mr. Amanfoh – who does his work in Ghana with a non-governmental organization called Victory Vision Care – treated Ms. Andoh in the town of Techiman, in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. However, he was very busy for the nine months he was in Ghana and did not stay put. At the request of Peace Corps volunteers, he traveled to three different regions to do vision screenings at local schools. At times he traveled 13 hours from where he lived.
Overall Mr. Amanfoh gave free vision screenings to 2,000 people. If those people needed glasses and he had old ones with the correct prescription, he’d give them those glasses for free. If not, he’d write a prescription and sell them the new glasses at cost.
Mr. Amanfoh plans to go back to Ghana at the end of July, and said the Woods already have three more people lined up for eye exams. He thanks CEENTA for donating equipment and supporting his work there.
People who want to help can call Victory Vision Care at 704-307-2970 or email Kwame at firstname.lastname@example.org.