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'I created the NPO Eyes2Eyes after a CapeTalk interview helped save my eyesight'

25 February 2021 5:25 PM
Tags:
Blindness
eyesight
Eyes2Eyes
Amanda Seccombe
corneal infection
eyecare
ophthalmology

Amanda Seccombe started going blind in December 2018. She says an interview that aired on CapeTalk quite literally saved her eyesight.

Seccombe was confined to a dark room in her bed, and in immense pain as an undiagnosed bacteria slowly ate away at her corneas.

In 2019, her close friend was listening CapeTalk host Pippa Hudson interviewing Professor Derek Smith from Tygerberg Hospital's Opthalmology Division.

He was speaking about new surgical technology used to treat corneal conditions.

Seccombe reached out to the expert after receiving a call from her friend about the interview.

In 2019, Prof Smith diagnosed her with acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare, vision-threatening parasitic infection that was caused by poor contact lens hygiene.

Seccombe had two corneal transplants that same year and she has been using scleral lenses to restore her visison as a part of her ongoing visual rehabilitation.

She has been slowly regaining her sight after the potentially blinding corneal infection.

Her personal encounter with blindness is the reason she established the non-profit organisation Eyes2Eyes at the end of 2019.

One of my very best girlfriends was listening and she called me straight away.

Amanda Seccombe, Founder - Eyes2Eyes

I had started going blind in December 2018 and the progression was fairly quick. It was incredibly painful and I was struggling to get an adequate diagnosis.

Amanda Seccombe, Founder - Eyes2Eyes

I was very unfortunate to have it in both eyes - a bilateral infestation. Most people have it in one eye... Acanthamoeba keratitis slowly eats away at your corneas. It's incredibly painful. You become incredibly light-sensitive. I think I spent seven months in the dark not being able to go out in the light.

Amanda Seccombe, Founder - Eyes2Eyes

Eyes2Eyes is currently focused on various fundraising initiatives to help increase public access to eyecare.

The organisation is currently raising funds to buy a Confocal Microscope for the early diagnosis of corneal diseases.

Seccombe says they are also hoping to help provide quality scleral lenses for post corneal transplant patients in Cape Town's public sector hospitals.

Part of the Eye2Eyes programme is to fundraise for the provision of those scleral lenses to Tygerberg and Groote Schuur hospital

Amanda Seccombe, Founder - Eyes2Eyes

Eyecare just doesn't get the kind of support that it needs... I really hope that in the future that people start to recognise that we have a large population of low-vision and blind individuals in South Africa.

Amanda Seccombe, Founder - Eyes2Eyes

Visit the Eyes2Eyes website to learn more about their incredible initiatives and how you can support them. You can also check out their Instagram and Facebook pages.

Listen to the inspiring story on Lunch with Pippa Hudson:




25 February 2021 5:25 PM
Tags:
Blindness
eyesight
Eyes2Eyes
Amanda Seccombe
corneal infection
eyecare
ophthalmology

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