Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world - despite the fact that the condition is highly treatable and one of the most cost effective procedures in medicine. In South Africa, the backlog of people blind as a result of untreated cataracts stands at an estimated 240 000. With the exception of the Western Cape and parts of the Eastern Cape, government services for cataract surgery simply cannot meet demand. Many public hospitals do not have ophthalmologists or are understaffed due to posts not being funded. This, coupled with the high incidence of cataracts, results in many people remaining on a waiting list for sight saving surgery for well over a year.
The Right to Sight Trust is a public benefit organisation that works to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in South Africa. Under its Second Sight Project, the Trust brings together spare capacity in the private medical sector – ophthalmologists and private hospitals – to address the backlog of cataract surgery in South Africa.
Established as an initiative of the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa, the Right to Sight Trust is exempt from tax and duties and approved in terms of Section 18A by the South African Revenue Services.