People come to Africa Surgery with eye problems, lamenting poor vision, trauma by foreign objects, growths, or infections. They are referred for assessment and treatment to two hospitals with eye care programs in Freetown, or to two facilities upcountry. Infections are particularly frequent. If not medically treated, they often ulcerate and lead to blindness. In most cases, medical treatment is sufficient, with no need for surgery.
When surgery is needed, treatment costs in Sierra Leone are very low. Cataracts can be removed for about $80 per eye. Charges are similar for Pterygium, a membrane that frequently invades the cornea in people living near the Equator. This low price allows Africa Surgery to finance this type of eye surgery for a large number of needy individuals.
Every year Africa Surgery collects used prescription eye glasses and sunglasses from a few eye care professionals around New Jersey and donates them to hospital eye programs, which dispense them to people who cannot afford lens correction.