Angela Dwyer suffering from cataracts - pictured with her children (clockwise bottom right) Michael (7), Olivia (3), Charlotte (5), Jake (7), Dillon (14), Courtney (19), Aidan (14) and Maddison (11).
Angela Dwyer suffering from cataracts - pictured with her children (clockwise bottom right) Michael (7), Olivia (3), Charlotte (5), Jake (7), Dillon (14), Courtney (19), Aidan (14) and Maddison (11). Alistair Brightman

Mother of eight going blind

CATARACTS have cost Dundowran mother of eight Angela Dwyer her job, her driver's licence is now at risk, and the future of her family hangs in the balance as her condition deteriorates and she slips towards legal blindness.

Ms Dwyer, 36, is the human face of the cataract crisis on the Fraser Coast and a surprisingly youthful one considering 80% of cataract sufferers are senior citizens.

Her fate and that of her family hangs in the balance as health professionals prepare to analyse cataract sufferers and determine which patients will be listed for publicly funded surgery.

If she is one of the lucky ones, her sight will be restored in the public health system and she can try to fight her way back to some sort of security for her family.

If Ms Dwyer is not selected for cataract procedures, she will go blind and her family will be thrown into chaos.

She cannot afford the almost $11,000 in surgery costs, theatre fees and medicines to have her eyes done in the private sector.

"I hate the thought of never being able to drive again, never being able to work again and never seeing my children again," Ms Dwyer said.

Fraser Coast Health Service has announced Surgery Connect, a state-wide program which funds surgery for particular patients who have waited longer than clinically recommended, has provided enough financial backing to pay for 200 of the sight-saving procedures.

"Screening is underway to assess the suitability of ophthalmology patients currently waiting for surgery to receive their treatment in the private sector funded by the Surgery Connect program," Wide Bay Health Service District executive director of Medical Services Dr Tim Smart said.

"The Fraser Coast Health Service is working closely with Surgery Connect to assess each patient's suitability for the program.

"Those patients with the greatest clinical need and who have been waiting longer than clinically recommended will be given priority."

Patients will receive their treatment locally in the private sector before June 30 this year.



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