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For Immediate Release June 15, 2019:
Madison, WI– On June 27th, 2019, Combat Blindness International (CBI) will Celebrate its 35th Anniversary. In its lifetime, the organization has supported the eye screenings of 2.2 million men, women, and children in 15 countries on four continents. This work was begun by founder Dr. Suresh Chandra, who has spent his entire life working to help the poor in the developing world. Dr. Chandra was teaching advanced retinal surgical techniques in 1984 in Sitapur, India. He was on his way to the OR when he came across a waiting room filled with patients. When he returned from surgery, all the patients were gone– their cataract surgeries were complete. He knew then, after seeing the sheer volume and impact of cataract surgery, that he had to do something.
CBI started small with four eye camps and 319 cataract surgeries in partnership with King George Medical College in Lucknow, India. CBI’s work has grown to include ophthalmological paramedic trainings, pediatric screenings, and supporting the building of hospital facilities abroad. In 2018 alone, we supported 344,977 eye screenings, 33,225 cataract surgeries, and distributed 13,793 pairs of glasses. In 2018 we also celebrated the completion of a hospital in Keonjhar, Odisha, India, and the completion of training for 158 women in our Certified Ophthalmic Paramedic program.
Combat Blindness International was established by Dr. Chandra in 1984 with the goal of eliminating preventable blindness in developing countries. The organization currently has projects abroad in India, Paraguay, Botswana, and Gambia. To date, they have provided over 360,000 cataract surgeries and screened over 600,000 children for eye conditions. Domestically, they work through Madison School District and UW Madison to provide screenings and glasses for children and adults who couldn’t otherwise afford ophthalmological care.