ABOUT

Corneal blindness is one of the biggest causes of avoidable blindness, globally. In South Africa, many people face extraordinary challenges every day because of eye disease. Our vision is to enable early diagnosis of corneal disease through innovative technology and to assist people with low vision due to cornea disease, like keratoconus with access to custom scleral lenses.

PBO Reference No. 930069483

Donors will be supplied with an 18a Certified Receipt, which means their donations to our organization are tax deductible in the hands of the donor within South Africa.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

Eyes2Eyes is a non-profit organization, 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 cornea tissue procurement and facilitating the supply of quality scleral lenses for post cornea 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 procuring 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 procured 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 at Groote Schuur and Tygerberg Hospitals, 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

Online Art Sale

South African born artist, Sue Gray, has generously donated magnificent fine art prints to our organisation. Sue is an expat, living in Singapore. Her love for South Africa is immense and the series “Uprooted” tells the story of life as an uprooted South African. The first launch of 6 prints on 100% cotton paper features aloes and succulents. Thank you Sue for this immensely generous contribution to eye care in South Africa. We look forward to this collaboration with you.

To purchase these prints please visit https://www.sundaygirl.co.za/product/uprooted-fine-art-prints/https://www.sundaygirl.co.za/product/uprooted-fine-art-prints/

Join our #2020km challenge on Strava

Music

Music has a habit of bringing humanity together – it makes us feel good and feeds the soul – no matter the genre!

We are always on the look out for collaborations – if you’d like to share your talent with us, please get in touch.

Join us on 4 October 2021 for a magical evening of beautifully composed music featuring the Heydeburg Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Dr Leonard Heydenrych with a special guest appearance of the Tygerberg Children’s Choir and SAMA nominee Wilhelm Lichtenberg.

This concert features chamber orchestra arrangements across an array of genres that includes baroque, cinema and contemporary.

All funds collected for this online event will be in aid of The Eyes2Eyes Foundation.

This is an outdoor event so bring your camping chairs, blankets and picnic baskets along to enjoy this event with us.

 

https://www.quicket.co.za/events/149744-the-heydeburg-summer-concert/#/

GET INVOLVED

Get your family and friends to sponsor your kilometres in 2021 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 on your own, create a group and make it fun. Every km counts!

FIND US ON

Strava 
Runners: Eyes2Eyes2020
Cyclists: Eyes2Eyes2020 Cycling

Instagram

@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).

          AFFILIATIONS

          The Organ Donor Foundation is the national umbrella body for the promotion of organ and tissue donation. We actively plan and implement education and publicity programmes that are designed to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation with the aim being to prime individuals towards consent.

          The ODF is not a medical organization and plays no role in the allocation, or procurement, of organs. We receive no funding from government and rely entirely on our own fundraising initiatives and generous donations from corporates and individuals to support our work.

          Why organ and tissue donation is so important

          In South Africa, thousands of people including babies, children, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and extended family and loved ones are desperately waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

          The biggest challenge is that even though there are thousands of people needing a transplant, very few families say YES to organ and tissue donation after a loved one has died and therefore only a few of the people desperately waiting for a transplant, receive one.

          Did you know that?

          1 organ donor can save the lives of 7 people.
          1 tissue donor can save the life of 1 person and can improve the lives of up to 50 people.

          How do I become a donor?

          The process is straightforward, takes a few minutes of your time and costs nothing. Register online at www.odf.org.za or call the Organ Donor Foundation’s toll free line on 0800 22 66 11. You do not need to undergo any medical examinations or tests.

          The ODF will send you an organ donor card to carry in your wallet. We will also send you a sticker to put on your ID document and on your driver’s license. It is very important to discuss the decision with your family. Let them know that you want to donate your organs / tissue after death. Ask them to honour your wish when you die.

          Our mission is to bridge the gap between dependence and independence for the visually impaired by providing specialised training in an environment focusing on the needs and development of persons living with visual loss.

          We promise to take you from as far as your fingers can reach to as far as you dare to dream

          www.heinwagneracademy.org

          MEDIA

          567 CapeTalk - On the couch with Eyes to Eyes

          Lunch with Pippa Hudson

          Interview on Umhlobo Wenene

          Listen to our chat with Khanya Gqiyazana

          Smile 90.4 FM - Debunking cornea donation myths!

          Amanda Seccombe from eyes2eyes shares the challenges around myths impacting eye care! Benito Vergotine

          Radio Helderberg

          Interview with Johan Myburgh

          DONATIONS

          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.

          PBO Reference No. 930069483

          Donors will be supplied with an 18a Certified Receipt, which means their donations to our organization are tax deductible in the hands of the donor within South Africa.

          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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