ABOUT

The second highest cause of blindness, worldwide, is corneal blindness. In South Africa, many people face extraordinary challenges every day because of eye disease. Our vision is to help people to restore their sight.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

Eyes2Eyes is a non-profit organisation, registered in South Africa to raise money to purchase a Confocal Microscope for diagnostic purposes in ophthalmology in the Western Cape. We are committed to raising awareness about cornea transplants in South Africa, debunking the myths around eye tissue harvesting and facilitating the supply of quality scleral lenses for post corneal transplant visual rehabilitation in indigent communities.

confocal-600

MISSION 1

Our first step is to raise money to fund the purchase of a Confocal Microscope. Currently, there is no such facility in Cape Town. The microscope will be accessible to both public and private sector patients. Corneal confocal microscopy is a clinical technique for the examination and study of corneal cellular structure. It provides images delineating corneal epithelium, Bowman’s layer, stroma, Descemet’s membrane and the corneal endothelium.

eye-rainbow-600

MISSION 2

As the organisation grows, we will expand our focus to assist with awareness and education campaigns involving cornea transplants and harvesting corneas within the country. Currently, most donor corneas are imported from eye banks in America, at great expense. This is often not affordable for patients in South Africa without medical insurance.

As a rough guide, given volatile exchange rates, a cornea transplant conducted in a government hospital with locally harvested tissue would cost around R8,000 compared to R35,000 for a transplant with imported tissue.

cornea-transplant

MISSION 3

The road to full visual recovery after a cornea transplant often requires the addition of a scleral contact lens. This is a large lens, tailor made to fit an individual’s cornea to optimise visual acuity. The material used to manufacture these contact lenses allows maximum oxygen supply to the eye, while the intricate fit allows the lens to sit comfortably, without touching the surface of the cornea.

We are committed to creating a program that will supply cornea transplant patients of Groote Schuur Hospital, in Cape Town, with lenses where viable.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

In December 2018, our founder, Amanda contracted acanthamoeba keratitis in both eyes. This bacterial infection rendered her blind within two weeks. She could see hand movement only and life took a serious tumble. Amanda’s long journey to recovery inspired her to make a difference in the world of vision in South Africa. Without the valuable input and assistance from loving friends, family and organisations, she would not be here to tell her story.

“Losing my sight has been the toughest challenge I have ever faced. Imagine not being able to perform the simplest function, like brushing your teeth, without help. My condition came with severe pain and light sensitivity, and living with no light at all was the norm. I had to keep curtains and blinds closed, 24/7. I spent hours in my head and the only thing that kept me going was an inner voice telling me I never wanted anyone else to experience this living hell – I knew I had to turn my experience into something positive.

An earlier, accurate diagnosis would have led to a radically different outcome. As of 19 March 2020, I have had two cornea transplants and have approximately 40% vision in my left eye.

The end is in sight and I will soon get my first scleral contact lens, which will get me back to driving vision. In April 2021, the last of my sutures will be removed. It’s been a long journey and I’m determined to make it a worthwhile one!”

UPCOMING EVENTS

20 November 2020

Art Auction

Venue to be confirmed

Join our #2020km challenge

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Cyclists: Eyes2Eyes2020 Cycling

GET INVOLVED

Run/Walk/Cycle/Hike/SUP/Surf/Swim with us

Get your mates to sponsor your kilometres in 2020 and donate to Eyes2Eyes. You’ll get fit and healthy, while knowing you’re making a difference. You don’t have to do the full 2020km, create a group and split the difference. It all adds up!

FIND US ON

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Cyclists: Eyes2Eyes2020 Cycling

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#eyes2eyes2020
#km2020challenge

Sponsor our fitness tees and caps

You can also help by co-sponsoring our gorgeous handwoven bags, which have been lovingly made by the CT Society for the Blind.

Get in touch and let’s chat.

OUR TEAM

amanda-2

AMANDA SECCOMBE

Founder

Amanda owns and manages Sunday Girl Studio, an online clothing boutique and gift store. She studied at UCT and UNISA, finishing off her student years with a postgraduate marketing diploma. Her experience in marketing positions in the financial services and retail sectors, combined with a strong creative flair, provided the foundation for the establishment of her first clothing brand, White Ginger, in South East Asia. In 2012, on relocating to Cape Town, she started Sunday Girl.

When she’s not at her desk, you’ll find her pottering in her garden, running on the beach with Ben, her dog, or listening to good local music. Her personal encounter with blindness is the reason she established Eyes2Eyes. Her dream is to see patients with eye disease in South Africa having access to the best diagnostic technology and appropriate treatment plans, possible.

“I hope that no-one has to go through the prolonged agony of hit and miss diagnosis because Cape Town lacks the equipment and technology to facilitate this. My journey was one of extreme physical pain and mental anguish. My hope is that my story will ease the burden of others battling eye disease in South Africa.”

    Freddie Van Rensburg

    FREDDIE VAN RENSBURG

    Co-founder

    Freddie loves helping people and, in his capacity as an addictions and specialist wellness counsellor, that is what he does and loves it. He works and lives in Somerset West.

    He grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and holds an honours degree in Sociology from the University of Johannesburg. Freddie’s postgraduate counselling qualification was done through UNISA.

    He is the author of two books, The First Layer: Work through the 12 steps in 21 days and Life Anon: A 12-step guide for non-addicts. Between seeing clients, writing and hosting his podcast, Meet me in the Field, Freddie dedicates his time to helping those suffering from addiction in any shape or form.

    As witness to Mandy’s journey through blindness, he is committed to helping create a movement for better eye care for the people of the Western Cape and eventually all of South Africa.

      Pierre Robertson

      PIERRE ROBERTSON

      Co-founder

      Having originally studied science and worked in the field for a number of years, Pierre changed his career path in 1999 when he joined Metropolitan Health Group (MHG). He rose through the ranks where he eventually held an executive position in the company’s managed healthcare arm.

      Pierre left MHG in 2010 and is currently the managing director of Lifechoice, a Cape Town-based health informatics company. Since 2007 Pierre has also been co-owner of a company that imports and distributes ophthalmic disposables.  His industry exposure makes him well suited for the role he has taken up in Eyes2Eyes.

      Pierre holds an MSc in Wood Science (Applied Chemistry) (US), an MBL (UNISA) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Economics (UCT).

        Dr Leonard Heydenrych

        DR LEONARD HEYDENRYCH

        MEDICAL ADVISOR

        Leonard completed his undergraduate medical training at the University of Stellenbosch in 1994.

        He commenced his specialization in ophthalmology at the University of Cape Town in 2008 and completed his training in 2012. After this he worked as a consultant in neuro-ophthalmology and cornea at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban. He was then offered a corneal fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London and commenced his fellowship under Linda Ficker in 2015. He has published in peer reviewed journals such as JAMA Ophthalmology, Current Eye Research and the SA Journal of Ophthalmology.

        Leonard returned to South Africa in 2018 and he is currently working as a corneal specialist in Durbanville, Western Cape. He also works as a sessional corneal consultant at Tygerberg Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital. His particular interests are DMEK surgery and ex-vivo stem cell transplantation.
        Apart from working as a corneal specialist, Leonard is a keen flautist and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance at the Royal College of Music (London) and a Master’s degree in Music at Trinity College of Music (London).

          DONATIONS

          Bank account:

          EYES2EYES NPC
          First National Bank
          Somerset West Branch
          Branch Code 200512
          Account Number 62847564590
          Swift Code FIRNZAJJ

          COMPANY REGISTRATION NO: 2020/102347/08

          NPO NUMBER: 244-635

          Where your donations go:

          All monies donated to Eyes2Eyes are used strictly for fundraising. Running costs are kept at a bare minimum and we rely on valuable donated time and expertise for our marketing and awareness campaigns.

          Second highest cause of blindness worldwide
          Accounts for 3.46% of global blindness
          Every six minutes someone is told they're going blind
          The cost for a Confocal Microscope in Rands

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