PREVENTABLE BLINDNESS

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are the clouding of the lens, a small disc inside the eye, which develops into cloudy patches and can lead to blindness. It’s causes are: ageing, diabetes, excessive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, previous eye injury or inflammation, previous eye surgery, prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and perhaps altitude.

What do we know about cataracts?

It’s the leading cause of needless blindness worldwide, accounting for more than 50% of the world’s forty million blind.

 The majority of the world’s cataract blind live in the developing world without accessible and affordable treatment meaning that thousands continue to live a life of needless blindness. 

According to the World Health Organisation, 80% of all visual impairments can be prevented or cured and curing blindness has shown to transform the social and economic prospect of entire communities in developing nations.

One cataract surgery can cost as little as $50 per patient and surgery can take just seven minutes. 

 

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are the clouding of the lens, a small disc inside the eye, which develops into cloudy patches and can lead to blindness. It’s cause Cataracts are the clouding of the lens, a small disc inside the eye, which develops into cloudy patches and can lead to blindness. It’s causes are: ageing, diabetes, excessive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, previous eye injury or inflammation, previous eye surgery, prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and perhaps altitude.s are: ageing, diabetes, excessive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, previous eye injury or inflammation, previous eye surgery, prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and perhaps altitude.

What do we know about cataracts?

It’s the leading cause of needless blindness worldwide, accounting for more than 50% of the world’s forty million blind.

 The majority of the world’s cataract blind live in the developing world without accessible and affordable treatment meaning that thousands continue to live a life of needless blindness. 

According to the World Health Organisation, 80% of all visual impairments can be prevented or cured and curing blindness has shown to transform the social and economic prospect of entire communities in developing nations.

One cataract surgery can cost as little as $50 per patient and surgery can take just seven minutes. 

The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation is working towards ending extreme poverty by making quality cataract surgery accessible to those living with needless blindness in the developing world.

Gender Inequality

The main reasons for unequal access to eye health services between men and women have been attributed to:

Low literacy levels and a lack of education imply that women aren’t privy to the information that their blindness can be cured.

Women and their sight are treated as second class citizens across communities. In many instances, one will find households are willing to invest in a man’s cataract surgery as breadwinners, but would not invest in a woman’s surgery. Women, who are usually designated responsibilities of the household, risk their physical health while performing household duties blind.

Across many communities, women are discouraged from travelling alone; therefore they are unable to venture to hospitals, usually  a long distance from their communities, to receive eye health services.

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Women make up 64.5% of cataract cases

While public health issues generally do not discriminate on the basis of gender, blindness and particularly preventable blindness does.

Economic Disadvantage

People living with blindness are often unemployed and shut out from economic opportunities due to their disability. 

Family members who take care of the needlessly blind often forfeit paid work, pushing families deeper into extreme poverty.

The Lancet published a study that stated investing in curing cataract blindness can increase a patients economic productivity by up to 1,500% more than the cost of surgery in the first postoperative year.

A cataract surgery costs as little as 50 USD and can take just seven minutes.

Social Exclusion

Blind individuals are dependent upon family members for basic needs and everyday tasks. 

Very often, people living with needless blindness aren’t considered an equal and they experience social exclusion.

A blind person is usually not involved in household discussions, unable to participate in festivals and other occasions, and are ostracised by friends and family.

When a patient that suffers from blindness has a family, their children often suffer as they miss school to take care of their blind parent or relative.