According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 87% of the worlds visually impaired live in developing countries, where they lack access to the basic health care that can prevent or treat their visual impairment. According to WHO, 85% of blindness is avoidable, either by proper nutrition and eye care or through surgical correction. Cataracts remain the worlds leading cause of blindness globally, but simple refractive errors like myopia and hyperopia impair millions of children worldwide. While visual care for individuals seem to be a very low priority for governments, especially those strapped for cash during the recession, private charities are taking up the challenge.
One such charity is ORBIS International, which works to save sight and avoid blindness in many countries, including Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India, Vietnam, and Jamaica. ORBIS works by bringing in skilled vision care practitioners, but also by working to increase the capacity of countries to deal with vision impairment on their own. They do this by:
- Training doctors and nurses in-country
- Supplying technology
- Helping to build eye care institutions
- Educating community members about eye health
- Encouraging changes of behaviors that threaten eye health
- Helping to reform local health care systems
This is by far the most important part of their mission, because it means that after the ORBIS doctors go home, doctors in-country can continue to provide the continuous eye care necessary to continue preventing and treating blindness.
Remember, 85% of blindness is avoidable. To learn about how you can treat your cataracts before they become blinding, please contact a local cataract surgeon today to discuss your treatment options.