Cataract Blindness to Double by 2020

by Hannah Joy on Dec 26 2017 1:12 PM

Cataract Blindness to Double by 2020
Vrijesh Desai, a professional photographer at the age of 40, was diagnosed with cataract recently, who’s professional life and livelihood are entirely dependent on his eyesight.
Dr. Girish Jethwa, a distinguished ophthalmologist at Jethwa Eye Hospital, said, "Vrijesh was seriously worried about his future due to the developing cataract. When the available treatment options including different types of intraocular lenses such as traditional monofocal and multifocal as well as the latest extended range intraocular lenses were explained to him, he opted for the last option."

Vrijesh was implanted with the extended range-of-vision lenses. This lens can make it easier for patients to transition from day to night vision. Also, these type of lens produces less of the halo effect when compared with other lenses.

Vrijesh returned home on the very same day after the surgery, and soon he realized that his quality of vision has drastically improved.

Worldwide, cataract has been a significant cause of blindness. In India, it accounts for about 62 percent of the disease burden.

"The burden of the disease is set to increase shortly and the country should take a serious note of it," said Jethwa, who had witnessed around 5,000 cases of cataract in the last three years.

It is estimated that among people who are 50 years and above, the quantum of cataract surgery could double from 3.38 million in 2001 to 7.63 million in 2020.

The rate of cataract surgery could also increase from 24,025 per million in 2001 to 27,817 per million in 2020 for people who are aged 50 and above.

Though, the prevalence of cataract blindness decreases, the number of people affected with cataract blind may increase from 7.75 million in 2001 to 8.25 million in 2020. This is due to the increase in the population of people who are above 50 years in India.

What is Cataract?

A cataract is any cloudiness in the crystalline lens of the eye or its overlying capsule. Age-related cataract, which appears at an older age, is the most common form of cataract. However, there are other causes as well. Broadly, cataract can be divided into congenital and acquired varieties.

To date, there is no known medical treatment of cataract. The definitive treatment of cataract today is the surgical removal of the crystalline lens with implantation of a synthetic IOL (intraocular lens – to replace the refractive function of the natural lens).

Failure to place an intraocular lens results in a very high hypermetropia (long sightedness) which needs to be corrected either with spectacles or contact lenses for any useful vision to be present.

Spectacles and contact lenses have many disadvantages; thus intraocular lenses are the gold standard for correction of vision after removal of cataracts.


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