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      Epidemiology of Cataract in India: Combating Plans and Strategies


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          Blindness due to cataract presents an enormous problem in India not only in terms of human morbidity but also in terms of economic loss and social burden. The WHO/NPCB (National Programme for Control of Blindness) survey has shown that there is a backlog of over 22 million blind eyes (12 million blind people) in India, and 80.1% of these are blind due to cataract. The annual incidence of cataract blindness is about 3.8 million. The present annual level of performance is in the order of about 1.6–1.9 million cataract operations. To clear the backlog of cataract cases by the year 2000 and to tackle the rising incidence, 5–6 million cataract operations annually will have to be performed as against the present rate of 1.7 million per year. India is undertaking a new long-term initiative to expand the capability of cataract surgery and service levels with financial assistance from the World Bank. An important feature of this initiative is the attention given to spread the cataract blindness programme in rural and tribal areas. The second feature is the emphasis placed on modern extracapsular cataract extraction with intra-ocular lens implantation as the preferred surgical technique. Another noteworthy feature is developing institutional capacity and appropriate co-ordination mechanisms for collaboration between the non-government organization and the public sector to expand coverage to the most disadvantaged populations. The fourth and the most important strategy is to carry out intensive campaigns at the state and national levels against cataract blindness in order to substantially increase the demand for cataract services. A country like India has more significance for such a plan in view of the fact that various social, economic and environmental factors contribute to cataract blindness in populations at a much younger age.

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          Author and article information

          Ophthalmic Res
          Ophthalmic Research
          S. Karger AG
          April 1999
          11 February 1999
          : 31
          : 2
          : 86-92
          Departments of aOphthalmology and bPharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
          55518 Ophthalmic Res 1999;31:86–92
          © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

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          Page count
          Figures: 1, Tables: 2, References: 15, Pages: 7

          Vision sciences,Ophthalmology & Optometry,Pathology
          Prevalence,Epidemiology,Intra-ocular lens,Extracapsular cataract extraction,Risk factors,Cataract


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