International Cataract Program
CATARACT ELIMINATION AND PREVENTION
Cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye. It accounts for more than 50% of all blindness, despite the known technology that can restore vision at an extremely low cost.
- 36 million people in the world suffer from blindness
- 80% of that blindness is preventable
- 90% of the world’s blind live in developing countries
- 50% of avoidable blindness is caused by cataracts
Loss of sight causes enormous human suffering for the affected individual, their family and community. Those who are blind frequently experience poverty due to loss of household income, as do the families they were formerly able to support. Low- and middle-income countries lose millions in GDP every year due to the issue of blindness. It represents a public health, social and economic problem.
Eliminating blindness due to cataracts not only improves a person’s health, but also provides greater opportunity for work and education. These opportunities help break the cycle of poverty, allowing an individual to both provide for their family and contribute to their community’s economy.
Access to Care
People are often unable to receive care due to geography, population density, or other factors that hinder screening. Expanding screening programs allows more people to have access to care that they might not have otherwise.
Blindness affects not only the individual but their families and communities. Children are often out of school to care for blind relatives.
Each cataract surgery provides another opportunity for a person to return to work. This allows an individual to both provide for their family and contribute to their community’s economy.
In rural areas of many countries, people are often unaware that treatments for their blindness exist. By reaching more people we will see a correlating increase in awareness for preventable blindness.
Many low-income countries struggle to perform cataract surgeries at a high enough rate to outpace new cases, causing a buildup of patients waiting for surgery. Providing cataract surgeries reduces this strain on in-country facilities.
A cataract surgery is considered one of the most cost-effective medical interventions of all time. A 20-minute procedure that costs as little as $25 will restore sight to the blind within 24 hours.
Hover over the image to see a visualization of what someone might see before and after cataract surgery.