Why Blindness Reduction Program in India?
- One out of every three blind people in the world lives in India.
- There are 12 million people blind in India.
- 7.4 million i.e. 62% have cataract related blindness.
- 19.7 million are blind due to refractive error.
- 3.6 million people become blind every year.
- 3.2million children are blind under the age of 16 yrs., hardly 5% of them receive any education.
- 80% of blindness is avoidable i.e. readily treatable and preventable.
- Incidences of blindness are significantly higher in rural areas, 72% population lives in 6.38 Lakh villages.
CAUSES OF HIGH RATE OF BLINDNESS IN INDIA
- Lack of awareness, poor quality of service, high cost of treatment & inaccessibility to service delivery points.
- The problem is acute in the rural India especially in the age group of 60 years and above.
- Backlog of patients suffering from eye – diseases, more so cataract is large and increasing year after year. Govt. Hospitals / eye surgeons in the districts are not fully geared up/motivated to cope up with this challenge.
- Long distances from remote and backward areas to cities where hospitals are located is major handicap in receiving treatment.
- Most of the organizations working in this field are reluctant to reach out to rural and slum areas; particularly NE, Tribal population and other socially and economically backward places.
- Financial constraint is another major cause for not receiving the medical assistance as Private Doctors /Nursing Homes are beyond the reach of common masses.
- Ignorance that blindness is the effect of old age and not curable is another cause for not receiving proper eye care. Many also have psychological fear of operation.
- Devaluation of old traditions falling apart of Joint Family System and financial constraints make the family members apathetic towards the problems of aged parents and grandparents.
WHAT IS CATARACT?
According to WHO: Cataract is clouding of the lens of the eye which impedes the passage of light. Although most cases of cataract are related to the ageing process, cataract may develop after eye injuries, inflammation, and some other eye diseases.”
Globally, cataract (pacification of the lens) is the single most important cause of blindness, and cataract surgery has been shown to be one of the most cost effective health-care intervention. Most Cataract is related to ageing and cannot be prevented, but cataract surgery and insertion of an Intra-Ocular Lens are highly effective, resulting in almost immediate visual rehabilitation. Cataracts are painless. Often people with cataract begin to complain about glare. "When these people have bright lights shined on them, their vision may drop rather dramatically." Colors may seem faded, and eye-glasses or contact lenses may need frequent changing. People with cataract may need increased light to read. If the cataract worsens, lenses may need frequent changing. People with cataract may need to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a new lens.
Besides age, other factors that scientists believe may put individuals at greater risk for developing a cataract include heredity, alcohol use, smoking, long-term exposure to high levels of the sun's ultraviolet rays, some medications and systemic disorders such as diabetes.
The lens of eye is an important part of seeing clearly. It focuses light onto the retina. In cataract surgery, the affected lens is removed and, replaced.
World : [WHO - 2010]
- Every five seconds one person in our world goes blind and a child goes blind every minute
- Nearly two thirds of blind people worldwide are women and girls.
- 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness
- 39 million people are blind and 246 million have low vision
- 146 million people with low-vision are due to uncorrected refractive errors which could be restored with eye glasses.
- 80% of blindness is avoidable i.e. readily treatable and/or preventable.
- 90% of blind people live in low-income countries.
- About 28000 new cases of cataract occur every day worldwide.
- More than 82% of blind people are in the age group of 50 years and above.
- 19 million children are visually impaired and 12 million are due to refractive errors.