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Special Communication
May 2014

Challenges of Ophthalmic Care in the Developing World

Author Affiliations
  • 1Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 3Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  • 4LAICO, Aravind Eye Care System, Madurai, India
  • 6Francis I. Proctor Foundation, University of California, San Francisco
  • 7Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Francisco
  • 8Department of Ophthalmology, Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, Oregon
  • 9Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, Oregon
  • 5Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 10University of Washington Eye Institute, Seattle
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2014;132(5):640-644. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2014.84
Abstract

Global blindness exacts an enormous financial and social cost on developing countries. Reducing the prevalence of blindness globally requires a set of strategies that are different from those typically used in developed countries. This was the subject of the 2013 Knapp symposium at the American Ophthalmological Society Annual Meeting, and this article summarizes the presentations of epidemiologists, health care planners, and ophthalmologists. It explores a range of successful strategies from the multinational Vision 2020 Initiative to disease-specific schemes in cataract, trachoma control, infectious corneal ulceration, cytomegalovirus retinitis, and retinopathy of prematurity. In each example, the importance of an attitudinal change set toward public health becomes clear. There is reason for optimism in the struggle against global blindness in large measure because of innovative programs such as those described here.

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