Cataracts: trivial issue, big problem, scary surgery? What’s your perspective? If you live in a first world setting, then you probably know they’re not a big deal. The surgery is relatively simple and you have an option of restored vision that is better than you had before the cataract(s) developed. The surgery takes about 30 minutes and you are back home within a few hours at most. The coolest part is that you choose an IOL (intraocular lens) which is suited to your desired future vision. Like to play golf? Then perhaps you’ll focus on great distance vision. This link is just one of many which provide answers to FAQ’s about cataract surgery.
Armed with that knowledge, would it surprise you that 51% of worldwide blindness is caused by cataracts, affecting ~ 20 million people? Another 50+ million people are visually impaired by cataracts. You may be thinking that those are crazy numbers when there is such a simple fix. You’d be right but vision care is very limited in developing countries so tens of millions of people live with compromised vision. While I focus on thriving with vision loss, I am also a very strong proponent of restoring sight when it’s possible.
If vision care resources are limited, perhaps it goes without saying that rehabilitative resources are virtually non-existent? I don’t know this for a fact but can’t imagine anything else is possible. That makes vision loss in developing countries a virtual guarantee of low quality of life and unemployability. There are always individuals who rise above any challenge but the numbers will be small. For the rest, they become a burden on their families and society, even with readily available medical solutions.
This is where organizations such as HelpMeSee and Orbis come in. They are committed to eradicating preventable blindness and are making significant progress. Might remind you of my earlier post on Merck and eradicating river blindness. These organizations are bringing first world solutions to developing worlds and changing the trajectories of so many lives. You can read more about HelpMeSee here.
My email closing asks, “Is your work your passion? If not, why not? What’s your dream?” I suspect the answer for HelpMeSee and Orbis is a resounding YES!