Ibu Mariti’s Cataract Surgery

Stories | May 11, 2020

Ibu Mariti looks lovingly at her son, something she wasn’t able to do when she had cataracts.

Ibu Mariti lives in East Java with her two sons, one of whom is still in school. She is a masseur and is very well respected in her community as a healer, especially for babies and small children.

When we visited Ibu Marita last year she presented us with a beautiful array of traditional Indonesian food for lunch and shared what life has been like for the last few years.

Ibu Mariti and her sonIn 2018 life was difficult. Her husband died suddenly and her eyesight started to fail. As a newly single mum she had a lot on her shoulders, supporting one son to start his adult life, and another to complete school. Although her skills have meant she has always been able to generate a small but reliable income, she found she was becoming afraid to leave the house. Daily chores such as collecting water and going to the market became huge efforts. She could work from home initially, but then started to hurt herself more and more, bumping into things around the house. The world closed in and she felt very afraid for the future, for both herself and her children. She was constantly haunted by the fear that she could no longer provide for their daily needs.

One day she received a visit from a volunteer supported by a CBM partner, Ibu Sri. This volunteer encouraged her to have her eyes tested at regular village health post, which determined that she probably had cataracts, likely due to her by her diabetes. Ibu Mariti was very relieved. She had friends who had had cataracts, and following surgery were able to see again. This seemed to be the answer and she was excited.

The process was relatively simple. Ibu Sri accompanied Ibu Mariti to the local primary health centre, where it was confirmed she was likely to benefit from cataract surgery. Next Ibu Sri accompanied her to the hospital where Ibu Mariti was accepted by the ophthalmologist. She would have two cataract surgeries a few months apart, and was told she also needed to ensure she maintained a good diet to keep her eyes healthy.

Ibu Sri accompanied her through both cataract surgeries, always there to provide encouragement and support. And while it took a little while to heal, Ibu Marita’s confidence gradually returned. She is careful to manage her diabetes. And she is now able to visit her clients in their homes, go to the shops and collect water. This made her cry with joy, thankful that she can, again, support her children.

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