MORE than 200 Ghanaians have had their sight restored thanks to a Marylebone nurse's charity mission.
Ghana-born Cathy Asante, a nurse at the Western Eye Hospital, in Marylebone Road, was inspired to set up a charity to help alleviate the problem of cataracts in African patients.
The condition is responsible for half of all cases of preventable blindness in Ghana, where there is only one ophthalmologist for every 400,000 people.
Sister Asante flew to the African country with colleagues to surgically remove the cataracts of patients who were almost blinded by the condition.
"I was having sleepless nights thinking about what I could do to help," she said.
"I spoke to my colleagues about whether they could fund themselves to come with me to Ghana.
"Everyone was really enthusiastic and supportive so I set up an official charity called Touch of Light, to make our vision become a reality."
Mr Ali Mearza, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon, led the team travelling to Ghana with other specialists from the UK.
The team operated on 202 patients in the Ho Regional Hospital, which is about three hours' drive from the capital, Accra, where the closest ophthalmologist works.
"To be able to save the sight of so many people was a wonderfully rewarding experience," added Sister Asante.
"It will not just make a difference to the patients themselves, but also to their families, who would have acted as carers and blind guides.
"We also transferred surgical and nursing skills to the local staff so our trip should have a lasting impact on the region.
"I cannot thank everyone enough who joined me on the trip and I hope it was the first of many."
Sister Asante extended her thanks to the trip's donors and sponsors.