TRACHOMA, for many years a major medical problem among the American Indians, is now serving as a focal point around which the delivery of eye care to the Indian people is being upgraded.
The medical needs of the American Indians have been the responsibility of the Indian Health Service of the US Public Health Service since 1955. At that time, the medical profile of this group of people was on the level of an underdeveloped country with high morbidity and mortality from tuberculosis, high infant and maternal death rates, and high death rates from infectious causes.1 Ophthalmological care was provided on a patient demand basis, with the vast majority of the population not availing themselves of specialty care. This was due to the lack of trained personnel, the long distances to referral hospitals, and traditional cultural barriers. Until the early 1960's, three or four full-time ophthalmologists were serving a
Hoshiwara I. Ophthalmological Care for American Indians. Arch Ophthalmol. 1971;86(4):368. doi:10.1001/archopht.1971.01000010370002