Pheak Kim Sreang is a young girl who has cataracts in both eyes. She lives with her parents in the province of Svay Rieng in Cambodia. When the girl was six months old, her parents noticed that something was wrong. When crawling, she would constantly bump up against the furniture. Her parents did not know what the problem was and hoped it would get better as Kim Sreang got older. When the girl was a toddler and started walking, it soon became apparent that she could not see properly. She kept bumping into furniture and hardly responded to the pictures in picture books. When playing games with her parents she showed little response to their movements.
When Kim Sreang was 19 months old, she underwent surgery on her eyes for the first time. Her parents had heard from a colleague that the hospital in Svay Rieng had a small eye department. She had cataract surgery in both eyes and was given glasses. She recently turned two and it was time for a check-up. Together with her aunt and her parents she travelled to Svay Rieng where a new eye clinic had been opened. The doctor decided that she needed surgery again to replace the inserted lenses in both eyes. Her parents hope that this will completely restore the eyesight of their little girl and that she will be able to see clearly again after the surgery. They know better than anyone how difficult it is to build a life without being able to see, especially in the remote and poor areas of Cambodia. Kim Sreang`s parents both have serious eye problems. Her mother had measles when she was younger which left her completely blind. Her father also has eye problems and his vision is severely impaired.
Kim Sreang`s parents both work for a massage institute that trains blind people to become masseurs and then helps them find a job. Her father works in the office of this organization and her mother works as a masseuse. With the help of this organization Kim Sreang`s parents earn barely enough money to support themselves and their two children. They realize however that they are luckier than some. Many blind people are totally dependent on the support of their family. They cannot work and need assistance. Kim Sreang’s father says: “I hope that my daughter`s eyes will recover completely. Then she will be able to go to school and learn a profession. She will also be able to run around and play with her classmates”. The family cannot afford the continued and intensive eye care they need. Fortunately, they can receive free eye care at the eye clinic in Svay Rieng.