Patricia is 32 years old, living on the outskirts of Lusaka province in central Zambia. She earns her living from small-scale farming. About three years ago, Patricia began to experience progressive loss of sight accompanied by sharp headaches. Eventually she lost her ability to see.
Patricia had difficulties walking, would often fall and was embarrassed to leave her house due to the stigma associated with blindness and people bullying her. Pregnant with her second child, her husband left her and she had to move in with her sister.
Patricia was picked up through a Seeing is Believing sponsored project carried out by Sightsavers at a local screening camp. She was taken to Lusaka Eye Hospital and operated on for a cataract, restoring her sight. Following that operation she was able to see her daughter for the first time since she was born.
“[Before the operation] I was unable to read and write, and I couldn’t recognise the people around me,” she said.
“I am now finding my life again. I encourage everyone, especially women, who may be going through what I went through, to seek treatment from the hospital and avoid going to traditional healers.”