Lost Vision in Los Palos
By Erica Darian-Smith and Allister Howie
Meet Guido Perera. He is a seventy-one year old man who lives in Los Palos, Timor-Leste. For the past year his vision has been rapidly deteriorating and for the last six months he has only been able to perceive hand movements in front of his eyes. He is almost completely blind.
Guido used to lead an active life farming vegetables and corn, and acting as the village healer. He can no longer do these things. Guido lives with his son, who helps him with fundamental activities when he is not at work. His son works hours away from their village. When he’s away, the extended family also helps out.
Guido has found the loss of independence hard and is sad that he can no longer help others. Guido has advanced bilateral cataracts. Cataracts are the most common cause of preventable blindness worldwide, however treatment requires access to eye care, facilities and skilled surgeons. This case is one that is all too common in Timor-Leste.
Timor-Leste has a National Eye Centre located in the nation’s capital Dili. It has skilled staff both in the hospital and in outreach teams. However, despite this, many people with preventable eye conditions do not receive timely treatment because of the many barriers to receiving eyecare.
Guido lives 6-7 hours by car from the National Eye Centre. He may never have come in to see a doctor,but fortunately the village was visited by a National Eye Centre outreach screening team three months ago.
Read more about Guido here (pdf 319kb)