A six-month-old baby successfully underwent her second cataract removal operation at the Pretoria Eye Institute in Arcadia on Monday.
Dane-Lize Lombard’s first operation was last Friday, and it was done on her left eye.
“One could not tell that she underwent an operation a few days ago because she was so chilled and settled,” her mother, Rejeanne Lombard, of Pretoria North told Pretoria Moot Rekord.
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Dane-Lize’s parents, Rejeanne and Pieter Lombard, said they started noticing there could be something wrong with her two months after she was born.
“According to children’s milestones, a child should be able to reach out for toys by the time they are two months old, but ours couldn’t,” said Rejeanne.
“That was when we realised there could be something wrong with her.”
She said her suspicions were confirmed when they went for a routine check-up and it was found that Dane-Lize had cataracts in both eyes, resulting in total blindness.
They could, however, not afford the operation as they did not have medical aid.
The operation would have cost R35,000 for one eye.
“I even applied for a loan, but could not qualify for the amount required,” said Rejeanne.
Fortunately, thanks to the involvement and generous contribution of the King Pie Trust and the Pretoria Eye Hospital, both operations were done – and the family did not have to pay a cent.
Rejeanne said she and her husband were both excited and frightened at the prospect of the operation.
“But we were always positive,” she said.
“What makes us happy is that our child will grow up normal and will enjoy being a child. She will see and play like other kids. We would like to thank everyone who made the operations a success.”
Baby Dane-Lize is their first child. There is no history of cataracts in their family.
Both operations were performed by renowned cataract specialist Dr Jacobus Pauw, who said it might take months before the baby could see perfectly.
“It is gradual. The whole process, including the brain getting used to the new eyes, could take months,” he said.
Pauw said both eyes could not be operated on simultaneously because of baby Dane-Lize being so small, and it was a precaution to limit the risk of infection.