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A New Future For Iviwe

Iviwe was just 10-months-old when he first met with the Orbis supported team in Durban, South Africa. Now 3-years-old, he lives with his mother in Verulum, 30km north of Durban KwaZulu-Natal. KwaZulu-Natal is one of the most populous, poorest, and rural regions in South Africa, housing 28 percent of the country’s blind children. He was diagnosed with unilateral retinoblastoma after his mother noticed he grew very sick and his left eye was swollen. Retinoblastoma is a cancerous tumor of the eye. If the disease is not treated promptly and effectively, it results in death in nearly every case.

Iviwe was referred to the Orbis Pediatric Eye Care Centre at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH) in Durban which handles complex child eye care conditions. There, his mother was informed that Iviwe’s eye had to be removed in order to stop the cancer from spreading to his right eye and even Iviwe’s brain. She was initially opposed to the treatment, but after more counselling with Dr. Parbhoo she realized that this was the only way to not only save her son’s sight, but ultimately his life.

Iviwe’s right eye was successfully removed in December 2010 by Dr. Parhboo and he was declared cancer free. At the time, because his socket was very small, there was no affordable prosthetic eye size available for him. The Orbis supported team at IALCH continued to care for him and follow up on his progress. When he was three and his eye cavity had grown, they contacted Dr. Peter Furber, an ophthalmologist in private practice specializing in prosthesis, to ask if he would take on Iwine’s case. Dr. Furber immediately agreed to step in and fitted Iviwe for an artificial eye. Now that Iviwe has received the prosthesis, he will continue to be cared for with future treatment and follow-up to replace the prosthesis as he grows older.

The Orbis Pediatric Eye Care Center is a partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health to develop comprehensive eye health services for children in the province so that children like Iviwe can receive high quality eye care. Now, with close follow-up care, Iviwe can continue to be the sweet and lively boy he has always been without his condition worsening or limiting his future.

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