A deep fear of biomedical interventions also resulted in cataracts in children remaining untreated, spokeswoman Kemantha Govender said in a statement.
The research was conducted by Dr Susan Levine, a senior lecturer at UCT’s School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics.
“Her research indicates that some 35,000 people in KwaZulu-Natal are blind due to treatable cataracts; 1270 of them are children,” Govender said.
“With cataracts being the leading cause of surgically treatable blindness in children in poor settings, the timing of cataract-removal surgery is critical.”
Vision never developed normally if surgery was delayed for an extended period.
Levine also found that delays in cataract treatment in children could be greatly reduced if immunisation nurses were trained to recognise the early visible signs of the condition.